Stolen Words: Life’s Railway To Heaven

Stolen Words are my compilations of lyrics used to make a new piece of prose of sorts.  The lyrics are ‘stolen’ from the songs I hear while listening to SiriusXM.  Usually, I surf my favourite channels to gather the lyrics however for this piece I was only tuned in to one channel – Willie’s Roadhouse – where they have been doing tributes to Merle Haggard.  All of the lyrics for this piece are from songs that are either Haggard originals or songs of others that he loved to perform.

“The Hag” as he was affectionately known died yesterday, Wednesday April 6 2016.  It was his 79th birthday.  He predicted his birthday departure to his family last week and it wouldn’t surprise me if he had already written a song to commemorate it.  “I’m Gonna Die On My Birthday” perhaps.  Who else coulda written such a song?  Only Merle I’m sure.

Stolen Words:  Life’s Railway To Heaven is one common woman’s prose in honour and memory of “the poet of the common man” – the truly unforgettable Merle Haggard.



Stolen Words:  Life’s Railway To Heaven

Silver wings shining in the sunlight  –  Silver Wings
And the sun comes shining through  –  Rainbow Stew
I drifted up here with the wind  –  Kern River
Drifting with the winds that blow across the sky  –  Driftwood

The wind keeps blowing, somewhere, everyday  –  If Only I Could Fly
When you’re flying like eagles  –  Live This Long
The wide open spaces all around me, the moon and stars up above  –  Waitin’ For A Train
And fly like eagles out among the stars  –  Out Among The Stars

And I just called to let you know where I’ll be living  –  Swinging Doors
Now knowing where I’m bound  –  Mama Tried
I’m right back where I’ve always been  –  Today I Started Loving You Again
Home is anywhere I’m livin’  –  I Take A Lot Of Pride In What I Am

My hat don’t hang on the same nail too long  –  Ramblin’ Fever
Living on the road my friend is gonna keep you free and clean  –  Pancho and Lefty
I’d like to hold my head up and be proud of who I am  –  Branded Man
We like livin’ right and bein’ free  –  Okie From Muskogee

I’m just rollin’ with the flow  –  Going Where The Lonely Go
Listen close and you can hear that loud jukebox playin’ in my ear  –  I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink
Let this song I’m singin’ be a warnin’  –  The Fightin’ Side Of Me
Think it’s time some guys like me had some fun  –  Big City

Sing a little bit of these workin’ man blues  –  Workin’ Man Blues
Sing me a song of sadness and sing it as blue as I feel  –  Sing A Sad Song
Sing me back home with a song I used to hear  –  Sing Me Back Home
That’s the way love goes babe, that’s the music God made for the whole wide world to sing  –  That’s The Way Love Goes

Sit down beside me and say it’s alright  –  Misery and Gin
I’ve got no time to look back now  –  No Time To Cry
‘Cause I really had my life all together  –  Always Wanting You
Everything’s gonna be all right I know  –  If We Make It Through December

This letter’s meant to be my last farewell  –  A Place To Fall Apart
And someday soon I’ll be just one more memory  –  Someday When Things Are Good
But your memory is stronger than time  –  My Favorite Memory
And the rainbow turns the clouds away  –  When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again

Not feeling any pain at closing time  –  The Bottle Let Me Down
Guess I’ll die with this fever in my soul  –  White Line Fever
Stand up for the flag and let’s all ring the liberty bell  –  Are The Good Times Really Over
And walk away without a curtain call  –  Footlights

I pulled into the driveway, Lord it sure was good to be there  –  The Roots Of My Raising
There you’ll meet the Superintendent, God the Father God the Son  –  Life’s Railway To Heaven
And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own  –  He Walks With Me
Daily walking close to Thee, let it be Lord let it be  –  Just A Closer Walk To Thee



 In further tribute, I encourage you to check out the following

“Merle, Hank, and Johnny” by Dan Bern and Common Rotation

Miranda Lambert & Kris Kristofferson singing Merle’s “Silver Wings” at the Kennedy Center Opera House when he was honoured there in 2010

A tribute to Merle at the 18th American Music Awards in 1991

And finally, a big ole country send off to Merle by a gathering of his influences, his friends, and his fans.  No, it wasn’t really a goodbye to Merle, I’m just using it as such.  The video is actually the end of the Grand Ole Opry’s 80th Anniversary show at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2006.  I picked this one not because of its obvious relation to someone’s passing, but also because Will The Circle Be Unbroken are the words inscribed in the rotunda at the Country Music Hall Of Fame [see featured image above], where Merle was inducted in 1994.  The rotunda at the CM Hall Of Fame is round so that every inductee has a place of equal importance.  Today, the Hall Of Fame put this tribute to Merle on their website.

Merle … May the circle of your melodic inspiration forever be unbroken.  May you feel welcome at the better home’s that been waiting for you in the sky.  Johnny and Hank have been looking forward to your arrival.  Look up on centre stage.  There’s an empty barstool beside the jukebox with your name on it, and a 22-fret Tele made just for you.  May you be pickin’ at that custom piece of magical music making forevermore guitar man.


Image sources:

Will The Circle Be Unbroken at the Country Music Hall Of Fame – Ole Bendik Kvisberg user on, CC 2.0 Generic

Unforgettable album cover,, ©

Listen to music. It could save your soul. Be kind. It could save someone’s world. Wear a hat. It could save your life.


14 thoughts on “Stolen Words: Life’s Railway To Heaven

  1. Dear Marianne,
    I wanted to thank you for this post, for I love the song, “Will the circle be unbroken.” I did write it, but my internet was in dire need of a break, I gave in, it’s all I could do. So here I am taking another chance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much Tresa. Couldn’t agree more. Despite the tragedies in his life and steps in wayward directions he took, his spiritual legacy for his family and all of us is something to be treasured. He was human, so are we. That’s why so many of us can relate to his music. The Hag’s music will be playing in my home til the day I pass as well I’m sure.
      Thanks for the visit and the note. Hope you’re having a kindness-filled kinda day … Marianne

      Liked by 1 person

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