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Canadian-born in 1945,
Born following the closure of hateful war,
In which so many brave men had lost their lives,
And born to witness the effect of many more:
The man with a "Heart of Gold", a metaphor
For his own high-profile and enduring war,
Fought with a whole-hearted and pugnacious drive
As one of rock music's best ambassadors
For the protection of the environment,
A cause that he has found well worth fighting for,
And combined with his role in entertainment
Has made him a man whose fame fuels this war.

A man of no great looks, and a crooked spine,
His plaintive tenor voice has been at its best
In songs where yearning has been made manifest,
Which its timbre has been used to underline.
Of his many songs, one I like the best
Is from the album of the same name - "Harvest",
Though I am not sure that that actual word
Throughout its rendering can clearly be heard,
So he, perhaps, considered it best
To let the message to this title attest.
"A Man Needs a Maid" I would also request -
It is difficult to choose one from the rest.

In the early years, while still making his name,
He joined the group known as "Buffalo Springfield",
Sharing then with Crosby, Stills and Nash the aim
Of combining talents in a common yield,
But as a soloist he has found more fame,
With several Grammy awards to his name,
At times using the backing of "Crazy Horse",
He became in rock music a leading force
With songs like "The Needle and the Damage Done",
In which a tale of drug usage is spun,
And cover versions he has to his name
Include "Four Strong Winds", recorded to acclaim.

His personal life has not been free from care:
Several of his marriages have failed,
And no doubt his children's health has caused despair,
Since from cerebral palsy they have ailed.
Some performances have been given to share
Its profits with this disability's care,
If at times his songs seem to lay his soul bare,
That, perhaps, results from this burden of care.
His house burned down in 2018,
Not, presumably, a very welcome scene,
There is always that for which there is no repair,
No one who is human could fail to care.

Now he has become the "Old Man"of his song,
There "Comes a Time" when he must leave the old road
That he has for many years travelled along,
Time to leave aside his full career load.
"After the Gold Rush" his life was plunged headlong
Into "popular performer's"public mode,
Playing guitar with almost every song,
Or at times harmonica would back some ode,
Its wail a sad echo amongst the throng
In conclusion to another episode,
Another venue, another familiar song,
For like "Rust" he "Never Sleeps", nor yet corrodes.

It is unlikely that Neil would claim sainthood,
But he has been a man trying to do good,
He has used the gift of his well-loved voice
In brave support of the causes of his choice.
Long may he run.

This poem is not claimed to be entirely accurate - its uses both guesswork and licence.

Copyright © Beth Evans