Friday, June 19, 2009
The People Are Scratching
Words by Ernie Marrs and Harold Martin, melody by Pete Seeger.
peteseeger.net claims that both words and melody are by Ernie Marrs and Harold Martin. I really don't know.
A nice version from Pete Seeger is on his album "God Bless The Grass", all about ecology and environmental problems and solutions.
Rise Up Singing chapter: Ecology, p.37
Am E / - Am / C G C E / Am - D / E EAm
Come fill up your glasses and set yourselves down.
I'll tell you a story of somebody's town.
It isn't too near and it's not far away.
It's not a place where I'd want to stay.
Now the people are scratching all over the street
Because the rabbits had nothing to eat.
The winter came in with a cold icy blast.
It killed off the flowers and killed off the grass.
The rabbits were starving because of the freeze.
They started eating the bark off the trees.
The farmers said, "This sort of thing just won't do.
Our trees will be dead when the rabbits get through.
We'll have to poison the rabbits, it's clear;
Or we'll have no crops to harvest next year."
So they brought the poison and spread it around.
And soon dead rabbits began to be found.
Dogs ate the rabbits and the farmers just said,
"We'll poison those rabbits till the last dog is dead."
Up in the sky there were meat-eating fowls.
The dead rabbits poisoned the hawks and the owls.
Thousands of field mice the hawks used to chase
Were multiplying all over the place.
The fields and the meadows were barren and brown.
The mice got hungry and moved into town.
The city folks took the farmer's advise
And all of them started to poison the mice.
There were dead mice in all the apartments and flats.
The cats ate the mice and the mice killed the cats.
The smell was awful and I'm glad to say
I wasn't the man hired to haul them away.
All through the country and all through the town
There wasn't a dog or cat to be found.
The fleas asked each other, "Where can we stay?"
They've been on the people from then till this day.
All you small creatures that live in this land
Stay clear of the man with the poisonous hand!
A few bails of hay might keep you alive
But he'll pay more to kill you than let you survive.