Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday Music: Woody Guthrie, Ludlow Massacre

Woody Guthrie with his guitar
bearing the slogan,
"This machine kills fascists"

Labor Day is more than a three-day weekend. It's not just a day for one more trip to the beach or one last hot dog at the end of summer. It is a time to remember the benefits that the labor movement has brought to our country.  Many today seem to have little or no knowledge of the past struggles with the industrial corporations for better working conditions, even as workers rights have slowly eroded in our day. Rights for working men and women have been hard-won in our society and without labor unions, much of what we take for granted in the workplace today would not have been put into place.

Woody Guthrie, known for his influence in American folk music, wrote over a thousand songs about "the common man." Many of those songs had to do with labor relations. "Ludlow Massacre" is a song commemorating an incident in 1914 during a coal miner's strike (See note below*)

*From WikipediaThe Ludlow Massacre was an attack by the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company camp guards on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado, on April 20, 1914. Some two dozen people, including women and children, were killed. The chief owner of the mine, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was widely criticized for the incident...

...The Ludlow Massacre was a watershed moment in American labor relations. Historian Howard Zinn described the Ludlow Massacre as "the culminating act of perhaps the most violent struggle between corporate power and laboring men in American history". Congress responded to public outcry by directing the House Committee on Mines and Mining to investigate the incident. Its report, published in 1915, was influential in promoting child labor laws and an eight-hour work day.

And here is another "one of Woody's old songs" sung by Billy Bragg & Co. at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday celebration ...


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday Haiku: Butterfly

    open field
    heavy with summer
    butterfly dreams

                          ~ CK

Photo: a swallowtail butterfly drinking nectar from orange butterflyweed


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The True Story of a Boy and a Dragonfly

This is an old poem of an even older event. For me, it is a reminder to be open to any invitation that life offers. Sometimes the wondrous unfolds out of the mundane, and sometimes the child is more open than the adult in accepting invitations to wonder.


It’s a childhood memory,
Somehow vivid as trips to grandma’s house
And family dinners on Sunday.
A dragonfly --
That ancient creature of iridescent beauty
Precise as a finely tuned machine
Swift as any fairy --
Greeted me in the back yard.
She hovered for a moment
Then darted to the hillside.
Returning to me,
She hovered again
Then darted back to the hillside.

“I’ll follow that dragonfly,” I said.
She floated along just in front of me,
Allowing for my five-year-old steps,
She followed the path up the hill
And around the bend.
We reached a plateau
Just past the pine tree
Just beyond sight of our back porch.
There, to my surprise,
Was a host of dragonflies.
It looked like some important dragonfly meeting place.
They were flying about in a great circle
Like a living, vibrant wheel,
Like some shimmering vortex
Connecting this world and the next.

She flew on ahead of me and joined the circle.
I stood astounded.
I couldn’t stay long.
It was a dragonfly meeting, you know.

                                                      ~ CK

Image: Illustration from "The Water-Babies, A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby" by Charles Kingsley,
           illustrated by Warwick Goble
          Public Domain
          Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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