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Joe Hill, a Swedish immigrant and labor activist, was executed in Utah in November 1915. These lyrics are comprised of two of his original works: We Will Sing One Song and Last Will. The latter was written on the eve of his execution at the Sugarhouse Prison in Salt Lake City. The fact of its existence shows that his message was relevant to those forced to be his captors by the state. Joe Hill lives on in every worker who cares for her fellow laborer and hopes for a day to be free of profiteering.
My will is easy to decide, For there is nothing to divide. My kind don't need to fuss and moan -- "Moss does not cling to a rolling stone." We will sing one song of the children in the mills, They're taken from playgrounds and schools, In tender years made to go the pace that kills, In the sweatshops, 'mong the looms and the spools. Then we'll sing one song of the One Big Union Grand, The hope of the toiler and slave, It's coming fast; it is sweeping sea and land, To the terror of the grafter and the knave. My body? Ah, If I could choose, I would to ashes it reduce, And let the merry breezes blow My dust to where some flowers grow. Then we'll sing one song of the workers' commonwealth, Full of beauty, full of love and health. We will sing one song of the politician sly, He's talking of changing the laws; Election day all the drinks and smokes he'll buy, While he's living from the sweat of your brow. Then we'll sing one song of the girl below the line, She's scorned and despised everywhere, While in their mansions the "keepers" wine and dine From the profits that immoral traffic bear. My body? Ah, If I could choose, I would to ashes it reduce, And let the merry breezes blow My dust to where some flowers grow. Then we'll sing one song of the workers' commonwealth, Full of beauty, full of love and health. Perhaps some fading flower then Would come to life and bloom again. Then we'll sing one song of all our commonwealth, Full of beauty, full of love and health. This is my last and final will.
released February 20, 2015
Joe Hill, for never dying.