Anthology

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As the Cork Mother Jones festival has grown and developed we have begun to gather together a collection of poems, songs and stories about Mother Jones, some of these are new, some have been lost or forgotten for decades.  We have set up this page to gather them into the Cork Mother Jones anthology.

 

Mother Jones

A True Cork Rebel

Lyrics & Music Richard T. Cooke © 2012

To see music chords click on image

Mother Jones Festival Song

 

 

 

 

The Charge on Mother Jones

(William M.Rogers)

The patriotic soldiers came marching down the pike,

Prepared to shoot and slaughter in the Colorado strike;

With whiskey in their bellies and vengeance in their souls,

They prayed that God would help them shoot the miners full of holes.

In front of these brave soldiers loomed a sight you seldom see:

A white-haired rebel woman whose age was eighty three.

“Charge” cried the valiant captain, in awful thunder tones,

And the patriotic soldiers “Charged” and captured Mother Jones.

“Tis great to be a soldier with a musket in your hand,

Ready’ for any bloddy work the lords of earth command.

“Tis great to shoot a miner and hear his dying groans

But never was such a glory as that “charge” on Mother Jones!

This poem was recited to the West Virginia Federation of Labor sometime between 1917 and 1920. Cork Mother Jones committee and musician William Hammond sang it to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic (John Brown’s Body) at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival on Mother Jones Day 2013.

Mary’ Mother Jones

by Danny Slevin

From the Rebel County came a mighty leader, ‘Though born among the poorest of the poor.

All through her life she fought the great enslavers, And took the fight for justice to their doors.

As a girl she went to find a new beginning,

In a land where men were equal in the law.

But some were much more equal than the others,

And she vowed to right the awful wrongs she saw.

There was children working twelve hour shifts down coalmines, When they should have been out playing in the sun.

And their fathers strained and sweated blood beside them,

With armed guards making sure they didn’t run.

But from the East there came a new Messiah,

Her call would rally workers to her cause

Pray for the dead but fight like hell for the living.

And she fought like hell to change the labour laws.

Chorus.

In the strike at Cabin Creek in West Virginia,

She walked right up and stopped the bosses guns. Then at Rockefellers mines in Colorado,

She faced the Merchant Prince and made him  run.

But the struggles took their toll on her old body,

in a miners union grave they laid her bones.

Yet in working peoples hearts will live forever,

The legend, that was Mary’ Mother Jones.

3

From the first days when she started out campaigning. Until the end when she was old and frail.

To win the eight hour day and decent wages,

Our hero would spend many nights in jail.

But the papers of the day took up the story.

Being locked up only added to her fame.

And the pictures of the little white haired lady,

Made the bosses run and hide their heads in shame.

Chorus.

Alternative first line for international use. From a tiny Irish village came a hero.

© Danny Slevin March 2010

 

 

 

 

 

Agitator

 

Words by Ronnie Gilbert
Music by Ronnie Gilbert,
Libby McLauren and Si Kahn

Down in the holler where the sun never shines
She took her stand with the men in the mines
With the boy at the breaker, the girl in the mill
She hollered so loud you can hear her still
And the called her AGITATOR (They said…)

Mother Jones…how’d she get so strong?
Mother Jones…How’d she live so long?
Mother Jones never bent her knee…
Mother Jones taught them to be,
How to be free.

Some called her Wobbly, some called her Red
Some said they’d love to see her dead
She wasn’t scared of their guns,
She never shed any tears
And she lived to be near 100 years
As a god-damned AGIATOR

CHORUS

You know the washing machine where you wash your shirt
Well it’s the stick in the middle that does the work
It tugs and it twists and it may be mean
But it loosens the dirt, gets the shirt darn clean
And they call it an AGITATOR.

CHORUS

1994 Ronnie Gilbert, BMI

(Our thanks to Patty Schmeder for sending the above song)

 

Children of Mother Jones

by Pete Duffy

 

Children of Mother Jones

 

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

We were the first to march the protest trail

When the plight of children’s labour she unveiled

In our hearts we knew we could not fail

When Cork’s own rebel daughter told our tales

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

The policemen had their batons bombs and guns

And drew from endless capitalistic funds

All we had were pockets full of stones

But we were led by fearless Mother Jones

 

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

Those were cruel hard depressive times

With no thought they sent us down the mines

For us no school nor children’s nursery

We were the victims of the owner’s greed

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

Those in power showed her no sympathy

In her fight to set the children free

She lies in Mount Olive Illinois

But Mother Jones’ true spirit never dies

 

We have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

As we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

Yes, we have freedom

Freedom in our bones

We are the children

Of our Mother Jones

We have freedom

While we fight for liberty

We’ll never be forgotten

While she strives to set us free

 

 

Copyright (C) Frank E Lee and Pete Duffy, 2014

5 responses to “Anthology

  1. I was at a few of the events for the mother jones festival , the 1909 cork lockout, tadhg barry film, and banner parade also the andy irving concert I would like to thank the committee for a brilliant festival . this should grow to be a great event in conjunction with the Shandon street festival.

  2. I have a signed music CD called The Train Still Runs. The song called” Agitator” was writen and sung by Ronnie Gilbert. It is about Mother Jones. We saw her perform it in St. Louis, MO. She heard that we had a son who’s memorial is in Mt. Olive coal miners cemetery with Mother Jones (this was his wish) and met us back stage. Check on line for Ronnie Gilbert. I can send the words to a friend I have in Cork. Her music and words of “Agitator” says it all.

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