Saturday, February 04, 2006

Coal Holders

We Are The Coal Holders

Ever since the beginning, there's always been the guy who’s job it was to carry the last hot coal. (Remember?)

See, when the tribe moved on, someone had to carry the last hot coal to start up the next fire at the next campsite. They needed this fire to cook with, sleep near, talk and sing around. Now, many of these coal-holders, over time, became folk singers.

Later on, some went electric. Some even became rock and roll singers, punkers and rappers. Hey, different tribes, different instruments. But the job itself has never changed.

My dad was one of these guys. And a lot of his songs were pretty damned hot!

We are Woody’s coal-holders. We do this to keep our present day tribe warm, fed, and informed.

Sometimes it gets real cold out there (Have you noticed?) and it seems like a chilly wind is just going to blow us all off the map.

A lot of people are feeling the effects of the chill; no food, no shelter, no singing, no rights. And other people are chilling inside; no warmth, no joy, no song, no tribe.

Coal-holders are real important right now!

They will be the ones who will make it possible to build the next fire. They will be the ones to serve up our next hot meal or our next warm talk. And though it seems that there are no bonfires burning just yet, I do feel that things are warming up!

- Nora Guthrie and everyone here!

Do you think God created the universe and then just disappeared? God speaks to us every minute of every day. Most of us are listening to so much background noise that we don’t hear him at all. In the recent tragedy involving coal miners, God was all over the place. 13 miners trapped, 12 lost their lives and 1 survived. Go look up 12 around 1 on the internet. How many disciples including Jesus were there? The 12 who lost their lives spent their last minutes writing letters to their families and loved ones. Letters of faith and love. “I’ll see you on the other side” – “It’s just like going to sleep”. Coal miners are the backbone of this country. They are the real Americans, the ones who work hard at dangerous jobs. And they have been victims of heinous “big business” tycoons who have treated them worse than dirt. But they survived and continue to bring that coal up from the depths of the earth. They are some of the most heroic people in this land. And sometimes they reach for the stars like Homer Hickam

God wants us to know that he is always with us, and to remember that “We are the Coal Holders”. And the world needs us now, light up your fire, get that coal hot, sing it out to the world. Sing it!

In the words of Woody Guthrie -


It’s after my work tired and weary, I lay down to rest my eyes,
I see this world change in a whirlwind and heaven flies down from the skies;
I see rising up from my wreckage, cities and mansions so bright
I see my friends eyes and their faces lit up with a bright shining light.

I walk through the sunshiny factory where dresses and shirts are both clean;
A brother and sister are singing at work as they watch all the wheels;
No smudge clouds of smoke hid my valley, my sight it is clear for miles;
The mountains are all dancing happy, the trees are waving me smiles.

There are no sickly faces about me, the children are healthy and gay;
Not one homeless soul is around me, not lost, nor cripple, nor lame;
The street laid in finest of plastics, the atom is laboring as well;
No airships are crashing here by me, no dead ones in burning hotels.

No fast cars collide nor turn over, no death curve along my new road;
No cheaters, no gamblers, no robbers, no graveyard, no prisons, no jails;
No gasbombs, no brass knucks, no billies, no battles ‘tween worker and boss;
No patrolman, no officer, policeman, to ride into crowds on his horse.

The last labor battles are ended, they’re shown on the screen and the page;
The workhand is happy at building his world like the play on his stage;
Profiteers are gone and forgotten, except in my history and book,
My friends all have jobs here in heaven and sing as I stand here and look.

I am sawing the finest made fiddle, I am touching the richest skin drum;
I am blowing the sweetest of woodwinds and blowing the deepest of horns;
I dance to my music I’m making, and the world joins in with my dance;
Science and hope cures the fevers, not one grain is blowing by chance.

Every hand works in hand with the other, and not for power nor greed;
Every hand works to its fullest ability and is paid in its deepest of need;
No cancer, no tuberculosis, no paralysis nor asylums are here
No bowery, nor skid row of homeless, no eye that is blinded by tears.

If you can only see with me this vision of heaven I dreamed,
Then you can take new faith in working with comrades and friends
And when I woke up from my sleeping and looked down my raggedy street,
I go back to work with my vision and I drink down the bitter and sweet.

I know as you hear such a dream, friend, you will not pass it along;
I do not expect you to sing it as I do, nor to sing such a curious song;
I wrote down this song for my own self, and sing it now to my own soul,
But if you’ll sing songs of your dreamings, then you will reap treasures untold.

1 comment:

upwinger said...

Woody was da man!