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For Pete Seeger Huddie Leadbelly Ledbetter and Woody Guthrie

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Below is the poem entitled For Pete Seeger Huddie Leadbelly Ledbetter and Woody Guthrie which was written by poet Scribbler Of Verses. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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For Pete Seeger Huddie Leadbelly Ledbetter and Woody Guthrie

For Pete Seeger, Huddie ‘Leadbelly’ Ledbetter and Woody Guthrie


it was a long time ago
when you put your words into song

'this machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender' you scribbled on your old guitar

and you wielded that banjo & guitar as weapons, 

fiddling out a hail of truth

of solidarity

of angry, vehement calls for peace

you said of Leadbelly, that that Huddie Ledbetter was a helluva man

you sang and spoke through dust clouds and relief lines

you taught us all, to seek out hope wherever we can

and when they tried to call all of you goddamned reds

you sang on ever louder and louder, rattlin' their prejudices as they slept in their plush beds

you rode and you rambled and thumbed your way around

the land that is my land and your land too

for you believed all this earth was shared common ground

and when you sang of overcoming one day

the injustice and pain that you witnessed along the way

they further branded you a commie, a pinko or a nigger-lover or a jew-lover, or an enemy of the state

while your banjo and your guitars continued to surround their blind hate

'this machine kills fascists' you etched on that guitar as well

but they were all deaf, for they could not hear the tolling of the bell

'the bell of freedom

the hammer of justice

the song of love between your brothers and your sisters'

and they knew not that they were the ones who would sizzle in their own bigoted hell

and then came the marches and you were there too

with dr. king in Birmingham and Selma, and you faced their spit, their venomous rage, their clubs and sticks and knives, but you always knew

that your cause was just and that the truth must one day prevail

however long it may take, you never gave up, you sang and you marched and you strummed yourselves, victoriously, into their jail

and then they shot him, they shot Dr. King dead, as they burnt and lynched many more

yet you stood firm, you never wavered, your blood was red after all, and they could not tarnish the truth's core

and so it came to pass, that woody went on his way, to his pastures of plenty up in the sky

and Huddie too, said his last and final goodbye

and you were then one, and you may have felt alone and overwhelmed, by the battles and with all that was wrong

but then you saw that the people were with you 

as they had been, all along

and so you continued to fiddle with that old banjo

dragging it through Newport and Calcutta and Dar-es-Salaam

and through countless unknown halls in numberless unknown towns

across this earth, turning, slowly, putting smiles of togetherness, on faces that were once pock-marked with disillusioned frowns
so...
today as I jot down these poorly scribbled words for all of you
for Woody, Huddie, and Pete
I do so in gratitude, for after all the travails that you've been through
I know that you know that this world still has its fair share of hate, and of loss and of injustice and of gloom
but I also know that you know that though all the old flowers may have gone
there always will be, as there always must be,

a fresh flower somewhere, that will quietly bloom.

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  1. Date: 2/26/2013 1:53:00 PM
    Superb... Terry

    Of Verses Avatar Scribbler Of Verses
    Date: 2/26/2013 1:56:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry


    Many thanks, Terry!