Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Great song from PWW reader!

We just got this e-mail from an online reader and loved it! Thank you Beth, for keeping hope and humanity alive through your work and music.

Hello beloved PWW staff: From Beth Maples-Bays

I cannot tell you how much we look forward to reading PWW/Nuestro Mundo each week. I am a community activist and organize around issues of concern to women and lesbians. My mailbox is flooded with reading material of a wide variety within that context. I want you to know that the only thing my partner will read is PWW.

As an Appalachian woman, I have a rather unique perspective on the world. Sometimes I express my viewpoint in song, accompanied by my mountain dulcimer. Recently I wrote new lyrics to the anthem for the 1931 coal strike in Harlan County, Kentucky - “Which Side Are You On?” Although I am a born and bred East Tennessean, my partner’s family hails from Knox County, Kentucky. Knox County shares a border with Harlan County. My now-deceased father-in-law equivalent, Albert Bennett, was active in the UMW local there. He mined for more than 40 years.

Here are the lyrics revamped for our current situation:

An Appalachian womon’s (sic) lament
by Beth Maples-Bays

The oil man’s in the White House;
Wall Street just bit the dust.
Foreclosure on your Mama’s house
Is anything but just
Which side are you on?
Which side are you on?
Workin’ folks are desperate To set food on the table.
It takes three checks to pay the bills, And we just lost our cable.
Wimmin folks a-strugglin’ to try And do it all.
Knowin’ there just ain’t now way They’ll ever break their fall.
Iraq War is draining
Our coffers and our souls.
Troops come home so damaged They go right on the dole.
Public schools are goin’ down.
Children just can’t learn.
GOP’s almighty buck Is harder now to earn.
Black bears are a-starvin’, Get shot when they come down.
Tourists leave pollution All over White Oak Town.
Queers ain’t seen as human, Hispanics same as dogs.
All the while, the man reaps profits Like a big ‘ol hog.
The winds of change are blowin’ All across this land.
The People reckon now’s the time We’ve got to take a stand.

If you choose to use these lyrics as a poetry submission, please note that they are my original composition. The copy that I have used to learn the tune and the original lyrics indicate they were copyrighted in 1974 by Storm King Music, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission in Source: The Liberated Woman’s Songbook, p. 70 (930. Also: (43). The words were written by Florence Reece. The music is traditional. I play it on my hourglass mountain dulcimer in the key of D.

Thank you for helping us keep hope alive,
Beth Maples-Bays

Digg Technorati Stumbleupon Reddit Yahoo
blog comments powered by Disqus