by Albert Vetere Lannon
They are arresting people in Wisconsin.
This land is your land this land is my land…
All kinds of people
Not all kinds of songs.
There once was a union maid who never was afraid…
Not justin bieber songs.
Strong songs. Songs with a message.
Songs that people sing when they are fed up:
I ain’t a-scared of your jail ‘cause I want my freedom…
When they are angry:
We are a gentle angry people and we are singing
Singing for our lives…
Songs of solidarity:
When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun…
Arrested for singing:
Build high build wide your prison walls
That there be room enough for all…
Songs. I think I’ll sing a song today:
We were born to rise…
Do you think they’ll come to
Arrest me as well? And you?
We shall overcome…
Songs that matter.
They can arrest us all they want
But they can’t jail our songs. So:
Lift every voice and sing…
Yes, sing my brothers
sing my sisters
Sing ! Sing ! Sing !
‘Til the walls come tumbling down.
Albert Vetere Lannon is a retired Bay Area labor educator, former union official, and a poet and historian. He has been awarded prizes from the Society of Southwestern Authors and Arizona State Poetry Society.