Found Dead in Utah

A Part of "A Collection of Things I’m Afraid to Say in Public"

For Joe Hill and Joan Baez

 

It was Joe Hill, who never died,
Shot by firing squad for leading strikes.
A man without money, land, or claim
He led us against the Starvation Army brigade.
Songs to the tune of a hymnal prayer
About union scabs and preacher’s long hair.

 

“I won’t be found dead in Utah, I swear.”


“Don’t mourn, organize!”
They shouted from hilltops
And from factory lines.

The Wobblies wrote ballads
To remember and praise

The fallen hero of the workers brigade.

Joe Hill’s songs cured our malaise.

 

“He killed two men!”
The bourgeois bosses cried out
To a conservative choir
Of jurors. No doubt
He was innocent
But he was a red. The bosses,

They killed Joe Hill dead.

A Wobbly from Sweden,
Who traveled to Eden,
To find it was naught but a lie.
Joe Hill was killed by firing squad,

“But Joe Hill never died.”

Joe I need answers.
Your movement died.
It’s been a hundred years,
When will workers rise?
I’ve never lost hope,
Or looked to “pie in the sky,”

But Joe our movement died.

You rallied the workers
To win a better wage.
For a while united
Beneath red banners ablaze,
But we lost the spirit
Of revolution so praised.

Joe Hill, our movement needs to be saved.

Baez, Bragg, and sweet Phil Ochs
Were our movements final hope
But Joe they’re forgotten
And we don’t have a clue

How to keep our purpose in view

We can only hope in our future
A bard will come along
With timbre, chorus, and melody
And lyrics so strong
That they surpass you Joe Hill
Hopefully it won’t be long

Before the working class is finally united in song

But who among us
In these distracted days
Could rise above the hegemony
And set the system ablaze?
We’ve broken the bullhorns
Trying to cry out,


But Joe Hill the masses are filled with doubt.