Oh Mama - plus!

Cuyahoga River

Kristin Lems
words and music by Kristin Lems c 2005


HONORABLE MENTION AWARD 2011 GREAT LAKES SONGWRITING CONTEST!!  Randy Newman also wrote a song about this catastropic 1970 event.  I sang this for Captain Jacques Cousteau, with Tim Vear, and it was a high point of my performing life.  Luckily, caring people did "stay by it" and the Cuyahoga has now been brought back.  Every river needs such protection from its human stewards.


*HONORABLE MENTION AWARD* Great Lakes Songwriting Contest 2011!!   

1. I've lived upon this river shore since I was very small

I've watched the seasons turning and I've seen the trees grow tall

I've seen the factories coming to clutter on the shore

They dump their waste into our lake, and every day there's more

 CHORUS:  Oh lovely waters that have carried my canoe

Cuyahoga River, what have they done to you?

2. Once we would go fishing in rowboats every dawn

Now all we see is tanker ships, and all the fish are gone

We could see trout swimming full twenty feet below

But now the water's turned to ink, no matter where we row

3.  Our river it was clean and clear, we'd swim there every day

Now it's far too dangerous, a fence keeps us away

The sun upon the water shone sparkling and royal

But now we see a rainbow from reflections in the oil

4. Late last Friday I drove home, smelled fire in the air

Couldn't tell the origin, the smoke was everywhere

A sheet of flame rose through the clouds, it cut them like a knife

I saw the river up in flame and giving up its life

5. Now the ashes settle on a charred and cindered lake

Staying by this shoreline is a terrible mistake

But the Cuyahoga's seen me grow, and now I've seen it die

Figure I'll stay by it, though I cannot tell you why

Purchase Kristin's music
Email signup list here!

Join Email List!

Kristin sings for you...