adventures in dysthymia

Saturday, June 10, 2006

STEINHATCHEE

verse 1
From the shadowed shallow waters
of San Pedro Bay,
Through the swamps, the dark Steinhatchee
makes its winding way
Under ground and over falls,
the pools where children play,
The river finds its way down to
the Gulf at Deadman Bay.

refrain
Steinhatchee, Steinhatchee,
eagles in the air;
Hear the crested woodpecker play
distant drums somewhere.
Steinhatchee, Steinhatchee,
where the cormorants dive;
Carry me down to the Gulf:
it’s good to be alive

verse 2
Now ‘hatchee’ is the word for river,
you probably all know,
But the reason for the ‘steen’
was forgotten long ago.
Odds are that it must mean something,
at least I reckon so;
I’m sure the river doesn’t care –
it’s just gonna flow.

verse 3
An island in the river is
my kind of neighborhood;
In the shade of a live oak tree,
I’d be there if I could.
Pull a catfish from the water,
find some firewood;
Fry it up with hush-puppies:
is anything that good?

verse 4
Drift lazily down through the flats,
past palmetto and pine,
Between high rocky banks grown thick
with tangled muscadine.
Remember one quite simple rule
and you’ll fit in just fine:
Please make sure, whatever you do,
that you say steen, not stine!

Stephen Brooke ©2006

A song lyric...actually, a complete song now as I've done the music too. Every now and again I attempt a 'Florida song.' The results are usually not good. This one is a bit plodding; I can't really get a lot of enthusiasm up for this sort of subject matter so let's just think of it as an exercise.

Possible origins of the name Steinhatchee: It could be named after the Osteen family, which has been numerous around those parts for a very long time. It could come from a Creek word that means ‘person,’ which would make Steinhatchee translate more-or-less to ‘Man River.’ On a map from the 1830s it is labeled as the ‘Esteen-hatchee.’

A note: my pics of the Florida Folk Festival are out of the camera but I haven't been near anywhere to drop off the film yet. Another disadvantage of living way out in the sticks! When I get 'em developed I'll post some (assuming they're decent) and maybe write some about the weekend.

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