In cities to the East they speak only of your poverty and crime.
Have they forgotten how small they are in the stream of time
When held against your pillowed bluffs, drenched in history?
Surely when our Republic's day are done,
Memphis' name will remain, strung throughout the stories,
The songs and ballads of our people, the legends of our heroes.
Memphis, you are the great American crossroads.
You are always a stop along our national journey.
People come to Memphis with reason: to listen and to learn.
Your songs and stories give us comfort,
They tell us who we are, and who we are to be.
Memphis, you have always been a city of deep contrast.
The stark divide of black and white has almost torn you apart.
Sorrow and joy run down your streets like blood and wine.
But is human life itself not an exercise in contrast?
Are we not born somewhere between angels and animals?
Within your constant struggles we can see ourselves,
The good, the bad, the hideous, and the noble.
Surely this is your blessing, and your curse.
I believe that the American soul is a battlefield.
Our heroes and villains are forged in wars, both real and imagined.
And Memphis, to how many battles have you born silent witness?
Yes, you baptized the Forrest whose anger lit the Southern nights
With flaming crosses and the moans of your disinherited children.
But how many heroes have ennobled your streets?
Did you not crown a King of Hearts, and still hold him in his tomb?
Did you not bear witness to the selfless death of another,
There with an evil gun shot, upon a cold steel motel railing?
Is that prophet's dream now forgotten among your children?
Memphis, you have always been a city of song.
You do not whisper of days gone by like Charleston.
You do not scream to be seen and heard like New York.
Your voice, once deep and powerful, was heard across the world.
From Tokyo to London, men still sing your songs.
The energy of your Rock and Roll has made us dance.
The power of your Soul has made us love.
The sorrow of your Blues has made us weep.
Memphis, raise your voice again to us now.
Our nation needs your songs,
To light our nights, to lift our hearts,
To tell us we are not alone in our loneliness and sorrow.
Memphis, sing to us your songs; sing to us our songs.
Remind us where we have come from, and where we are yet to go.