Joe Hill's Dream

from by M. Lockwood Porter

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lyrics

You steamed in from Sweden, looking for freedom
Looking for work and for dignified pay
What lay beyond Lady Liberty shocked you:
A land of corruption and greed and decay
You worked on the docks and you worked on the railroads
From Portland to Pedro to the Park City Mine
You sang songs for workers on strike, so they framed you
Giving hope to the hungry is a capital crime

You said not to mourn when they shot you, Joe Hill
But what bullets can’t kill, fear and hopelessness will
You put the voice of the people in, the point of your pen
Can a dream that has died be revived once again?

They heard you in union halls through the Depression
They heard you in Selma through the walls of the jail
You fought Vietnam through the radio airwaves
You were In Chile, in Jara’s sweet wails
Poor Woody went crazy, the Boomers got lazy
Punk rock’s a fashion you buy at the mall
Hip-hoppers trip off the power they were fighting
Al these phony folk singers say nothing at all

You said not to mourn when they shot you, Joe Hill
But what bullets can’t kill, fear and hopelessness will
You put the voice of the people in, the point of your pen
Can a dream that has died be revived once again?

Say a prayer for us, for the soldiers of lust
Make the dealers in dreams and disguises a toast
That we’ll keep our eyes clear, face down our fears
And preserve what the power despises the most

You said not to mourn when they shot you, Joe Hill
But what bullets can’t kill, fear and hopelessness will
You put the voice of the people in, the point of your pen
Can a dream that has died be revived once again?

credits

from How To Dream Again, released September 16, 2016

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