February 22, 2015

A Poem & a Song by RC Johnston

The Screaming Turtle
                        by RC Johnston

I heard a turtle screaming
Inside its tarnished shell
Sounds of bombs and gunfire
From the bottom of a well
It did not sound like music
More like inner agony
Which, is itself, like music
Mixed with reality

I heard a turtle screaming
A most unearthly wail
Those sounds, they echoed in my ears
My heart and breath did fail
But yet, they were familiar
'Twas like I knew them too
The screaming of that turtle
Did chill me through and through

I heard a turtle screaming
Beneath the sunbaked ground
A quiet hillside bathed in warmth
With bronze plaques all around
Each grave held a spirit
That shared a tale or two
And, the screaming of that turtle
Was the soundtrack to that view

Composed on what would have been John's 74th birthday, February 28, 2013...

I visited John's grave the day after I played at Lightbar, in Portland, Oregon, September 19, 2013...I had Dix with me and I played "Death of the Clayton Peacock" while sitting at John's grave...Cheers!!! Ralph.

Ralph also recorded a new song this week. Inspired by his recollections of this visit he brings us "A Tearful Stephen King Carries the Body of the Late, Great Clayton Peacock To a Pet Sematary Just Down the Road" It's a cool lo-fi recording: to listen click HERE or to d/l it just right click and select 'save link as...'.

Ralph says the tuning is D-A-A-D-A-C
"I play it with my bone slide on my little finger, but it can also be played lapstyle, as I fret no notes with my fingers..."


  1. Sounds so beautiful my friend, peacocks and turtles sing the blues .... very well done Ralph!!!

  2. mrskona...thank you my dear friend!!! Your comments warm me inside my snug, cozy shell!!! Thank you Scott for the opportunity to present my work to the world in such a cool way!!! Cheers!!! Ralph.

  3. Super-keen to hear this but struggling to D/L... is the link dead?