Woody Guthrie

By: Matthew Battles
July 14, 2010

 
 
A Ballad of WOODY GUTHRIE (1912–1967)
 
If you’ll gather ’round me, children,
A story I will tell
About brave Woody Guthrie,
The world knew him well.

He was born in Okemah,
it was 19 and 12.
Of his mother and father
You’ll have heard little tell:

His pa was a big man
It may seem strange to hear,
But his ma she was troubled
And caused Woody great fear,

For she had her an illness
Quite dread and quite grim,
And Woody didn’t know
It would one day get him.

His guitar would kill fascists,
Or so they would say,
But he started out playing
On a harmonicay

He roamed and he rambled,
The road it did bend,
Three times he was married
And had many a friend

Lefty Lou and Al Lomax
And Cisco and Jack
Leadbelly, Pete Seeger
And Aliza Greenblatt

He died like his mother,
It was a dark fate to share,
For it robbed him of singing
And it robbed him of care

Though many still claim him —
Some he might not’ve chose —
They put him on their records
And sing him at shows

But his tunes and his ballads,
They’re yours and they’re mine.
You can yodel them or whistle
He said it was fine.

ALSO BORN THIS DATE: Northrop Frye

***

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