Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday's Poetry: "Solidarity Forever"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

It has been a while since I last posted a Monday poem, and I need to get back into the habit. Some of these poetic postings have been quite popular. In fact, hardly a day goes by that someone doesn't stop by The Ramble to read "The Buck in the Snow" or "Sounds of Silence." I posted once during the week of my Dad's funeral, and, after that, sort of got out of the habit. The spirit just did not move me like it had been doing.

Saturday as I was marching on the treadmill listening to my iPod, Pete Seeger's version of "Solidarity Forever" came on and walked me away to another place, a better country where those who perform the labor reap the benefits. Oh, that it were so!

This union anthem was written by Ralph Chaplin in January of 1915. He said that he was lying on his living room floor with pen and paper, and the words just came to him - and great words they are. If you feel like singing, the tune is "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

This selection is respectfully dedicated to the men and women of America's unions. May you grow strong and prosper, and may unions take over every coal mine in America because that is the only way that our miners will ever be safe!

Solidarity Forever
by Ralph Chaplin

1. When the union`s inspiration
Through the workers` blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun,
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
For the Union makes us strong.

Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever,
Solidarity forever
For the Union makes us strong.

2. Is there ought we hold in common
With the greedy parasite?
Who would lash us into serfdom
And would crush us with his might,
Is there anything left to us
But to organize and fight?
For the union makes us strong.

3. It is we who ploughed the prairies,
Built the cities where they trade,
Dug the mines and built the workshops,
Endless miles of railroad laid;
Now we stand outcast and starving,
`Mid the wonders we have made,
But the Union makes us strong.

4. All the world that`s owned by idle drones
Is ours and ours alone,
We have laid the wide foundations
Built it skyward, stone by stone
It is ours! Not to slave in
But to master and to own
While the union makes us strong.

5. They have taken untold millions
That they never toiled to earn,
But without our brain and muscle
Not a single wheel can turn;
We can break their haughty power,
Gain our freedom when we learn
That the Union makes us strong.

6. In our hands is placed a power,
Greater than their hoarded gold,
Greater than the might of atoms,
Magnified a thousandfold;
We can bring to birth a new world,
From the ashes of the old
For the Union makes us strong.

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