Words by Woody Guthrie, Music by Nellie McKay
Excerpt from Woody Guthrie essay Just Today , circa 1944
Oh yes, I was plenty lonesome and I never will forget
How the old folks shuffle past me - I can see their faces yet -
Eyes all red around the edges and a damp look deeper in
Eyes that's seen their share of troubles that we're always stumbling in.
Foreheads marked and cut with wrinkles like the plow tracks on a field
Cheeks sunk in against the bone lips that never can be sealed.
Hair as grey and splashed with silver as a moonlight winter's night
Faces - faces - faces - what a picture! What a sight!
Faces friendly like a mountain top that stands up in the sun
When the blank and rotten tenements melt into the filthy slum
Strong and hard but bony faces with a shine of high tanned leather
Faces that had laughed and loved, and cried in every kind of weather
Eyes that looked out of sockets, like a man looks out of jail -
Half a smile and half a sneer - half a love song and half a wail.
Necks and muscles hard as iron once, a little front ways stooped,
Shoulders that had carried whole worlds, just a little downward drooped.
Young heads bobbed along the tight crowd and bellowed out their noise
That roars just like a cyclone in the younger girls and boys:
Eyes that shot ahead like spot lights on the drifting stage below
Eyes that made my spirits brighter even now that I was low.
And I thought, I wondered - which of these
Can look upon the rest of us and say she's really pleased.
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