Mose Rankin

Wade Martin, Wood Carving, Mountain Dulcimer

Tim Barnwell, Wade Martin, Wood Carving, Mountain Dulcimer, Swannanoa, N.C., n.d.
Courtesy of the Artist.

Mose Rankin
A Song Lyric for Edsel Martin
by Billy Edd Wheeler

1. He was born and raised
On the rough side of town
People said he never struck a lick

He had sawdust and grease
In his beard and his shack
Was filled up with driftwood and sticks

He said “I find these things
Along the river, and I use ‘em
To mount my little birds”

Then he gave me a drink
Of his moonshine
And I think
I was spellbound by his words

Ain’t it funny
Where a man can find beauty?

2. He said “Thanks for the ride
I’m glad ye came in
I never dreamed you’d be sittin’ there

“I’ve heard a lot about you
From the men that work for you
They say that you’re
Fair and square”

He gave me a pickle
That he’d canned himself
And some corn he’d
Baked in the shucks

As he smiled
I could tell he wouldn’t
Trade places with me
For ten thousand bucks

Ain’t it funny
Where a man can find wisdom?


3. He picked up his dulcimer
And played me a tune
‘Bout a man he called his friend

He said “I believe that
Jesus was born and that
He really died for my sin

“Folks think I’m crazy
I drink a little shine
Yeah, I’m on the low side of life

“But I see my friend
In that old piece of wood
And I’m gonna cut him out
With my knife”

Ain’t it funny
Where a man can find Jesus?

4. Old Mose Rankin
Was dead for two weeks
Before I even heard that he’d died

We’d come to be friends
Of a sort for three years
Deep down inside me I cried

I’d like to thank him
For all that he taught me
But I wouldn’t know where to begin

And I’d like to thank him
For leaving to me
That carving he made of his friend

Ain’t it funny
Where a man can find friendship?

Ain’t it funny
Where a man can find beauty?

Ain’t it funny
Where a man can find wisdom?

Ain’t it funny
Where a man can find Jesus?

     Travis and other Poems of the Swannanoa Valley
     Wild Goose, Inc., 1977

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Mose Rankin