Mudcat Café message #161449 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16834   Message #161449
Posted By: Art Thieme
11-Jan-00 - 10:17 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Anti-smoking songs
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Anti-smoking songs
People, bear with me while I mix a few metaphors and ideas here. Maybe I can get 'em straight in my own head as I write 'em out for you....

That same aunt, my mother's twin sister, all the while she was asking me for a cigarette whenever we'd see her in the nursing home as she lay dying, would also call quite often at 3:oo AM or 4:00 AM----awaken me out of deep sleep---and demand for the next half hour that I bring her a cyanide pill. It was hell to see someone you love hurting, addicted and completely out of control of her own life.

But I'd like to try to tie even this sadness to something musical---an idea I used in the schools around Chicago trying to make traditional songs relevant to students who were striving to make sense of modern dilemmas. Songs about other hard times of other people often could be made to shed light on recent happenings.

Being sure that this once gracious woman was well cared for opened my eyes to the real meaning between the lines of the western song "Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie". The dying cowboy asks his pals to please not bury him out on the prairie. They tell him whatever they need to tell him to calm him a bit----and then, when he dies, out of necessity, they do bury him out there. They even probably take his boots and rope and horse and saddle. But the real theme of the song is how hard it is in certain situations, especially at the end of one's life, to retain any semblance of control of that which is being wrested so painfully away.

"Pay no heed to the enticing words,
Of the men who own large droves and herds,
For if you do you will rue the day,
You left your home for the lone prairie."

"Oh bury me not...", but his voice failed there,
And we payed no heed to his dying prayer,
In a shallow grave just 6 X 3,
We burried him there on the lone prairie.

And the cowboys all--as they ride the range,
They mark the spot where his bones remain,
They toss rose petals all o'er his grave,
And pray to the lord that his soul be saved.

I hear that kind of striving for control from so very many smokers I know who find all kinds of interesting reasons to keep on keeping on. They even invoke the constitution and their own "pursuit of happiness".

So think about doing this and other traditional songs from the depths of history to put forth all kinds of modern attitudes and positions. Those guys who "owned the large droves and herds", might today be the tobacco billionairs who have been losing (finally) in the courts while luring people to addiction and death.

Anyhow, please don't be offended. I ain't against people who smoke. I'm against the assholes who continue to make a fortune by recruiting more people every day. And now that they're getting hurt a little here in the U.S., all of the packages of smokes are getting a warning label but it's in YOUR language.

A word to the wise...

Art Thieme