Monday, October 03, 2005
LEARNING TO LIVE
I know I said I was done with this Dylan thing, that you all are losing interest, or were never interested anyway. Maybe you're too young. Maybe you're saying Bobby who? Maybe you think the only Dylan song that was ever worth a damn was "Like a Rolling Stone. It's okay. Cause this isn't really about Bob anymore. This is about learning to live. And Bob says he learned to live by listening to Woody Guthrie.
I know. I know. There's lots of literature that will learn you to live (pardon my vernacular) but I've just spent the last couple of days immersed in Woody-speak.) There's all those holy books, and I don't think Woody ever claimed to be in their league. But that doesn't mean you can't learn something by poring over the lyrics of some of his songs over at the Woody Guthrie Website. You can learn about joy and humor and decency and about the refusal to judge others.
You can also learn that despite all the hollarin done by both sides, the issues are pretty complex. And maybe what we all need to focus on is developing a little character. And demanding our leaders do the same. At least, that's what I learned this morning when I had a cup of coffee with Woody Guthrie. Which come to think of it, is a lot of learnin to do on a ordinary Monday morning in October.
THIS IS OUR COUNTRY HERE
This is our country here as far as you can see no matter which
way you walk or
No matter what spot of it you stand on
And when you have crossed her as many times as I have you will
see as many ugly things about her as pretty things
You will hear whole gangs of travelers and settlers arguing
What she is, how she come to be, what you are supposed to do here.
and you will hear some argue at you
That she is so beautiful you are supposed to spend your life just
feeling her pretty parts,
Sucking in her sweetest breezes and tasting her fairest odors,
looking at her brightest colored scenes,
And I would say that gang has the wrong notion.
And there are some bunches that tell you she is all ugly and all
dirty, that there is nothing good about her, nothing free, nothing
clean, that she is all slums, shacks, rot, filth, stink, and bad
odors, loud words of bitter flavors,
Well, this herd is big and I heard them often and I heard them loud,
but I come to think that they too was just as wrong as the first
Because I seen the pretty and I seen the ugly and it was because I
knew the pretty part that I wanted to change the ugly part,
Because I hated the dirty part that I knew how to feel the love
for the cleaner part,
I looked in a million of her faces and eyes, and I told myself there
was a look on that face that was good, if I could see it there,
in back of all of the shades and shadows of fear and doubt and
ignorance and tangles of debts and worries,
And I guess it is these things that make our country look all lopsided
to some of us, lopped over onto the good and easy side or over
onto the bad and the hard side,
I know that the people that run our desks and offices got so full
of the desire to grab enough money to run away and hide on, that
they let this thought run them, instead of the bigger plan,
well, this has always been a hard word to say, but
It could very truly be that our office people are doing the best they
know how to do,
But we had ought to teach ourselves better and higher than this
before we run ourselves and put ourselves into our offices.
Words by Woody Guthrie
Copyright (C) 2001 by Woody Guthrie Publications
Used with permission.