Buffett, Jimmy - Death Of An Unpopular Poet Lyrics

I once knew a poet
Who lived before his time
He and his dog spooner
Would listen while he'd rhyme
Words to make ya happy
Words to make you cry
Then one day the poet suddenly did die

But he left behind a closet
Filled with verse and rhyme
And through some strange transaction
One was printed in the times
And everybody's searchin'
For the king of underground
Well they found him down in Florida
With a tombstone for a crown

Everybody knows a line
From his book that cost four ninety-nine
I wonder if he knows he's doin'
Quite this fine

'cause his books are all best sellers
And his poems were turned to song
Had his brother on a talk show
Though they never got along
And now he's called immortal
Yes he's even taught in school
They say he used his talents
A most proficient tool

But he left all of his royalties
To spooner his ol' hound
Growin' old on steak and bacon
In a doghouse ten feet 'round
And everybody wonders
Did he really lose his mind
No he was just a poet who lived before his time
He was just a poet who lived before his time

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Buffett, Jimmy Death Of An Unpopular Poet Comments
  1. Mike Eustaquio

    I really wished I stayed in Florida when I decided to work with animals around the 🌍 especially the alligators and crocodiles

  2. Dan Barnes

    I've been a Parrothead since the early 90s. This is in my top 5 Buffett songs. Reconnected with the song sitting on a seawall in Key Largo, so it will always be one of my favorites. Old Jimmy is soulful and cannot be beaten.

  3. Bill Delahoussaye

    Still one of my all time favorite songs!

  4. SuperSmasher

    Anyone here from Four Winds 😂???

  5. Dean Faletti

    Need a Jimmy Buffett, unplugged, story tour

  6. Dean Troklus

    I’m naming my next dog Spooner, love this song

  7. Austin Dean

    It's two o'clock in the morning, me and my old dog are sitting up enjoying Buffet's deep cuts. She's 13 and has been my constant companion since my last year of college.

  8. Jake Nash

    I saw him play this live in a little club in Atlanta in 1972, when HE was still a poet, and not a worldwide industry...

  9. Paul Lee

    This is real music, love the metaphors. Sad that crap like rap is so popular today.


    so true

  10. Michael O'Connell

    I once knew a poet who lived before his time
    He and his dog Spooner would listen as he'd rhyme
    Words to make you happy and words to make you cry
    And then one day the poet suddenly did die.

    But he left behind a closet filled with verse and rhymes
    And through some strange transaction
    One was printed in the Times
    And everybody's searching for the king of underground
    They found him down in Florida with a tombstone for a crown.

    And everybody knows a line from his books that cost $4.99
    I wonder if he knows he's doin' quite this fine.

    'Cause his books are all best sellers and his poems were turned to song
    They had his brother on a talk show though they never got along
    And now he's called immortal, yes, he's even taught in school
    They say he used his talents, a most proficient tool.

    But he left all of his royalties to Spooner his old hound
    Growing old on steak and bacon in his doghouse ten feet 'round
    And everybody wonders did he really lose his mind
    No, he was just a poet who lived before his time
    Yes, he was just a poet who lived before his time.

  11. Rich Diana

    His range of talent and fans is amazing.

  12. Jim Kelly

    True Buffett music!!!

  13. Barry DeCarli

    Never heard this one before today. I like it.

  14. Dean Bagdasarian

    One of his best works right here

  15. Jeff Di Nicola

    His ballads can make the toughest of men shed a tear! They'll be nobody like Buffets EVER again when he's gone!!!

  16. Dave Burns

    This one and Defying Gravity will be played when my ashes are scattered

  17. Lyrina

    My mother is a poet, writes beautiful poetry. She wants to get in touch with some country artists, and get her work out there. She doesn't want to be the unknown poet.

  18. TikiRV

    I love anything Jimmy does, but this early breakthrough album is his Crown Jewel.

  19. Marc Pags

    Trying to decide if I want this one played at my wake, what a beautiful song

  20. Dean Bagdasarian

    His songs you DON"T hear on radio are his great songs ,such as this one .

    Thomas Poynor

    Amen, sir! The songs when Jimmy let the poet out were always his best.

  21. WD Harris

    This song always gets me.....powerful

  22. Gerald Koors

    This is the same man who sings "cheeseburger in paradise", unreal.

  23. Lynn Mari

    Mmm, poetry music, Ty again Jimmy :*)

  24. todd atwell

    The last time I heard this song was on my Dads LP, love this album!!

  25. Terry Anderson

    what a nicely chorded song

  26. Carla Brox

    National Treasures...Jimmy Buffet, Declaration of Independence...etc...

  27. Eric

    Most 'Buffett fans' like his 'let's get drunk' tunes, but his REAL talent, and his greatest legacy will be his marvelous and soulful ballads... Lke this one!

    Paul Lee

    Eric those songs are ok, but I’d much rather here Death oaUP, Cowboy itJ, TCChalice, HwtParis, etc.

    James Green

    My family was shocked when I played them one. I got "that's Jimmy Buffett!?"

    Chase Phillips

    I second that. This song, He went to Paris and The Captain and the Kid are the best. Although they all they make me tear up, they are soulful masterpiece songs.

    JoAnn Russell

    Absolutely, agree!

    doug weiss

    I Have Found Me A Home too

  28. Gabe William

    This is easily one of my favorite songs ever period

  29. fool1shmortal

    I wish I had found his stuff back in the 80s. I liked the 70s stuff, also, but I was born in the mid-70s, so I would have cared less, then.

  30. Oscar Manuel Paredes Salinas

    the song is for Jim Morrison!!!!!! The song "He went to Paris" too!! great!

    Maren S

    Sounds good :) but here's an interview with JB:
    High Times: Where did “Death of an Unpopular Poet” come from?
    Buffett: I was watching Walter Cronkite one night, and he had a little blurb on there that Kenneth Patchen had died. That surprised me, because hardly anybody ever heard of Patchen except in small circles. He was one of my favorite poets. So I was thinking about him, and then I thought about Richard Farina. These guys contributed so much, but they died and we never appreciated them until afterwards. They starved their asses off and didn’t get to stick around to reap their rewards. If you’re going to go up there and try to make it, you’re not out there totally for aesthetic value. Let’s face it-you’re out there to secure your future anybody that says they’re not is totally false. I couldn’t say that money doesn’t mean anything to me. You have to pay your bills – I have to keep the band on the road. But you can still have a good time and write good songs. You don’t necessarily have to prostitute your music, as long as you know how to handle it, put it in perspective. Those guys had a good time, but I’m sure they were miserable a lot of times. The success that they wanted, they never knew they actually reached it.

    Oscar Manuel Paredes Salinas

    just listen the song , is for Jim, "he went to paris", Jimmy respect so much to Jim

    Maren S

    well, I guess one can interpret the song as they wish :) I guess I tend to believe what Jimmy Buffet said in his interview. It's still a favorite song of mine.

    Katma Tally

    Really too bad Jimmy went so commercial. I feel like his last decent album was Son of a Son of a Sailor.

  31. Warren Kunish

    We just lost our old dog Booner

    Truly Dutton


  32. Amy Orben

    Beautiful, I love the unknown.



  34. Dan MacPhail

    I'm on Spooner Hemingway MacPhail III from this great song! Thank you, Sunshine Smith.

  35. Chuck Griffis

    Always heard it was about Kenneth Patchen .

  36. Debra Odell

    love him

  37. joanne.m.gores Gores

    I am really sick of Gianforte political ads prefacing my youtube music. I will not vote for him.

  38. Drew White

    My dad named my dog spooner after this song.

    Jeff Harding

    Named all my dogs over the years and still do today ( in care of my wife now) beneficiaries to my life insurance because of this song.

  39. Julie Bond-Abreu

    This was one of the songs that made me fall in love with him back in 1977. I liked his work before, but this album really did it for me.  

    Chris Gordon

    +Julie Bond-Abreu

    Did you ever hear the Harry Chapin song "Carrie's Coming"?  a great song in the same vein. I always wonder where they get these ideas from.

    Bob McCarley

    Chris Gordon Chris, I don't mean to be one of those guys but its "Corey's Coming". My brother came home from his first Com. diving job in 1977 with three Buffett 8track tapes. Shortly afterward this former rock n roll hippie found Harry Chapin and John Prine. They have all traveled with me ever since.

  40. Mark Mahoney

    No one tells a story like Jimmy Buffett God I love this song!

  41. Tim Bohan

    Anyone know who the 'poet' was he was writing about? 

    Was it Hemmingway? 

    I doubt it because he wasn't really a poet per-se, and no mention of a 'Brother'.

    I'm guessing it's someone Jimmy knows but we don't.

    Great stuff as always, from one of the greatest American song writers, singer, players.

    Jimmy J

    It was about no one.

    Just a poet, like many who never published,

    Who lived before their time.

    Look around you - there are dozens, from factory to office workers, to bums, to the heartbroken. They tick along and live their lives. And are unpublished.

    captron78 maga

    I'm 37 an a huge buffet fan. I promise he is before his time. has Jim ever had a dog named spooner?

    Drayton Magill

    I think it may be about many writers. All those who wrote their masterpieces and died before they achieved the recognition they'd earned.

    Puddinhead Wilson

    The poet was Kenneth Patchen, who died 1/8/72. Known for his grudging persistence. Buffett found a copy of his work on Jerry Jeff Walker's bookshelf and dug him.

    Michael McConville

    Kenneth Patchen

  42. Shawn bm

    oh man!!!  I used to listen to this one over and over.  It is such a particularly special time in my life--and I discovered Jimmy Buffet along the way.  Years can go by while I am listening to other things and putting up with my kids' horrible rap music, and then one of these gems will come along and ... well, it just takes me back.  Fabulous

  43. smokecheck tim

    love this song

  44. Aby Lynn

    R.I.P. Isle of bones

  45. Russ Kendrick Martin

    Great Tune!!! Awesome Delivery!!!

  46. Jimmy Moretz

    Incredible Tune.

  47. GlowingBentley

    Something in my eye...

  48. Rahm Emanuel

    I named mine Hoagy after the one in one of his novels.

  49. Patriot Cane

    @jensdnaceworld LOL not just no but HELL NO


    @brett0497 WHAT??

  51. Johnny Shamrock

    Beautiful song.Reminds me of my dear old English Bull Terrier Ruby
    Died age 13 ,9 years today

    Still miss her .A loyal and faithful friend

  52. brett simpson

    @geeter68 no shit i thought it was metalica derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  53. beenutz1

    ONe of the best Buffet songs. Props to my ECU girls who turned me on to Mr Buffet before he was famous etc. The old Buffet.

  54. Will Liang

    No wonder Dylan likes this number, it's almost like it was written with him in mind

  55. ShekiahRosay

    I know Hemingway was pretty popular in his lifetime, but this still reminds me of all the six-toed cats he left behind. :P

    And the Key West-Jimmy Buffett connection makes it even better.


    ShekiahRosay this song has nothing to do with Hemingway.

  56. ShekiahRosay

    @dizzarch1 Can't argue with an endorsement like that.

  57. MusicRevisited

    Bob Dylan said this is one of his favorite Buffett songs. I'd have to agree.

  58. Patrick Brady

    @zezimarules1 this is my favorite buffett song. i first heard it when i was in 6th grade about 15 years ago. I got a dog shortly after.and named her Spooner and she was the best dog/best friend i could ever ask for. She died 2 years ago. i miss that ol' dog growin' old on steak n bacon like crazy

  59. Geeter Smith

    this IS jimmy buffett

  60. Dan MacPhail

    I've named three of my Goldens "Spooner"! Soon a third :)

  61. Joseph Bennett

    What a song man! Love it. I can sure relate. One of my favs of Jimmys.

  62. joe pish

    me 2. hated to hear him sound so commercial

  63. Joseph Wallis

    I wish he had stopped making music after his first few albums.

  64. Mark Chapoton

    My dog's favorite song me to sing to him in bed.

  65. James Wolf

    i think ur lying...u r jimmy buffet