"The Pilgrim: Chapter 33 (Hang In, Hopper)" as written by and Kris Kristofferson....
See him wasted on the sidewalk in his jacket and his jeans,
Wearin' yesterday's misfortunes like a smile--
Once he had a future full of money, love, and dreams,
Which he spent like they was goin' outta style--
And he keeps right on a'changin' for the better or the worse,
Searchin' for a shrine he's never found--
Never knowin' if believin' is a blessin' or a curse,
Or if the goin' up was worth the comin' down--

He's a poet, he's a picker--
He's a prophet, he's a pusher--
He's a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he's stoned--
He's a walkin' contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,
Takin' ev'ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

He has tasted good and evil in your bedrooms and your bars,
And he's traded in tomorrow for today--
Runnin' from his devils, lord, and reachin' for the stars,
And losin' all he's loved along the way--
But if this world keeps right on turnin' for the better or the worse,
And all he ever gets is older and around--
>from the rockin' of the cradle to the rollin' of the hearse,
The goin' up was worth the comin' down--

He's a poet, he's a picker--
He's a prophet, he's a pusher--
He's a pilgrim and a preacher, and a problem when he's stoned--
He's a walkin' contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction,
Takin' ev'ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.
There's a lotta wrong directions on that lonely way back home.


Lyrics submitted by KickerOfElves

"The Pilgrim-Chapter 33" as written by Kris Kristofferson

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Pilgrim: Chapter 33 (Hang In, Hopper) song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentYou're partly right. In one(?) version of this song, Kristofferson starts out by saying, to the background of his guitar, that he "started writing this song about Chris Gantry, ended up writing about ...(?) and Johnny Cash..." then goes on to mention several other country/folk singers of the time such as Ramblin' Jack Elliot. This song is about so much more than anyone in particular. A lot of what you said was right, but I see it as Kristofferson personifying the whole genre of music in this song.
    I also love the imagery of "wearing yesterday's misfortunes like a smile". It's so resonate to anyone who's been known to hit the booze hard (and often subsequently the sidewalk). This was one of the songs that made me fully appreciate the poet in Kristofferson. I mean, one can dissect this like a poem with its binary opposites, use of repetition, alliteration..... but I won't, I promise. Frankly, I'm a bit disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm for this song. Oh well.
    dongiovannion May 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKris wrote this song about Johnny Cash, his good friend and fellow Highwayman. It talks about Johnny's contradictory stance as being full of the gospel while also being indulgent, doing drugs, and having an obvious dark side to him. I don't think this was meant to be like a diss, because Kris and Johnny were friends and it's not too harsh. But it's definitely about Mr. Cash.
    KickerOfElveson June 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOther names Kris mentions are Dennis Hopper, Norman Norbert, Funky Donnie Frit?, Billy ?Swan?, Bobby Newerht, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Paul Seable.
    I think Willie Nelson does the definitive version of this song on Willie Sings Kristofferson, a great and under-appreciated album, btw.
    Runninon December 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is about the musician lifestyle. Norman Norbert, Donnie Frits, Billy Swann all played in Kris's 1970s band. Paul Siebel was a Dylanesque singer/songwriter who quit music after his third album, his best known song is
    "Louise" covered by Bonnie Raitt.
    a1anorthon January 29, 2013   Link

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