Joe Hill's Ashes

Mark Levy
Language: English

List of versions

Album "Don't Mourn-Organize!: Songs of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill", Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1990.


Testo trovato su
I'll sing of Joseph Hillstrom, better known as old Joe Hill.
Murdered by a firing squad, shot but never killed.
His will said that his ashes be strewn across the land
So flowers that refuse to die will rise up strong and stand.

We sing his songs to fan the flames
And talk about him much.
The ashes of this rebel voice
Are still too hot too touch.

Joe's corpse lay in Chicago where thirty thousand marched.
They flew the Wobbly banner -- high above the throng it arched.
The workers sang and cheered his name, they did not eulogize.
They honored Joe Hill's last request: Don't mourn, organize.

Then the union took Joe's body, which then they did cremate.
His ashes stuffed in envelopes and mailed to every state.
Except, of course, to Utah, for Joe had clearly said,
"Don't leave me here in Utah; there I wouldn't be caught dead."

Then someone in the mailroom discovered what was up.
The postmaster was summoned the mailing to disrupt.
An envelope tore open in the canceling machine.
'Twas just Joe's way of saying automation is obscene.

With patriotic fervor that postmaster was seized.
He treated that poor envelope as if it was diseased.
He said, "I won't deliver such subversive mail."
So for a while Joe had to wait in some dead letter file.

At long last the Post Office sent Joe's ashes to D.C.,
To the Archives like an artifact of ancient history.
The Wobblies in Chicago asked that he be sent home.
They wouldn't see him catalogued down in that catacomb.

So Joe's back with the Wobblies, and thus concludes my tale.
But if there is a moral, I might say, "Don't trust the mail."
We'll build that One Big Union before Joe's ash gets cold.
And we'll bring to birth a new world from the ashes of the old.

Contributed by Alessandro - 2010/3/8 - 21:02

Una storia davvero curiosa che non conoscevo...
Il corpo di Joe Hill fu cremato dopo il suo assassinio ed ogni sezione statunitense del suo sindacato, l'Industrial Workers of the World, ricevette un po' delle sue ceneri... tutte le sezioni locali dei "Wobblies", ad eccezione - per espresso desiderio dello stesso Joe Hill - di quelle dell'Utah, lo Stato dove aveva trovato la morte...
Il 1 maggio del 1916, sei mesi dopo la morte del grande attivista sindacale, le sue ceneri furono disperse contemporaneamente sugli interi Stati Uniti d'America (tranne l'Utah, of course)...
Ma nel 1988 si scoprì che uno zelante direttore di un ufficio postale non aveva effettuato la spedizione di una delle urne cinerarie perchè, secondo lui, "potenzialmente sovversiva" (!!!), sicchè un po' delle ceneri di Joe Hill ancora se ne stavano dal 1915 nell'archivio dell'United States Postal Service...
Anche queste ultime spoglie vennero consegnate all'IWW e furono disperse in Canada, Svezia, Australia e Nicaragua... Nel 1989 gli ultimi resti di Joe Hill furono dispersi a Lafayette, in Colorado, durante la commemorazione di sei minatori uccisi dalla polizia durante uno sciopero nel 1927...
(fonte: en.wikipedia)

Alessandro - 2010/3/8 - 21:35

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