Do you ever wake up thinking about Woodie Guthrie?

I woke up thinking about Woodie Guthrie.  Most mornings the first thing I think about is coffee.  Not today.  Because it’s National Poetry Month, I laid in bed thinking of folk music, Woodie Guthrie, and whether or not his songs could be considered poetry.  Why the hell not.  Most, if not all songs could be considered poetry.  Song was how the Irish, Welsh, and god only knows how many other cultures, passed down their oral tradition.

Woodie Guthrie grew up in Oklahoma during the Depression and Dust Bowl some of the hardest times this country has experienced.  During the Dust Bowl there were dust storms that lasted for days.  Because of drought and poor farming practices the soil was literally blowing away.  The Dust Bowl drove one of the largest human migrations in US history.

Maybe I woke up thinking about him because of the current economic straights we find ourselves in.  Unemployment jumped nearly a half of a percentage point between February and March.  Maybe I woke up thinking about him to give some perspective on our current situation, to realize that things right now could be a whole hell of a lot worse.  Maybe I woke up thinking of him because his songs offered hope and sometimes humour to people during the Depression and finding hope and humour is still valuable today.  He sang about the plight of working people,he sang about WPA projects like the Grand Coulee Dam, he sang about the beauty of America in songs like Roll On Columbia and This Land is Your Land.  It’s National Poetry Month and isnt that what poetry is supposed to do?  Poetry, like novels, can help shed light and help us find meaning in the face of the absurd.

This video is not Woodie Guthrie singing This Land is Your Land.  I couldnt find video of him singing that included the lyrics about people being on relief but I leave you with Bruce Springsteen and the lyrics for This Land is Your Land.

This land is your land This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me

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