Harness Up The Day

The door at the Woody Guthrie Center

At the Woody Guthrie Center

Oklahoma has created some stellar poets, to name a few–John Berryman, Joy Harjo, N. Scott Momaday, and Kevin Welch.  Our fly-over state has also produced some first-rate songwriters who have the musical poet strong inside them: Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Wanda Jackson, Reba McEntire, Leon Russell, Dwight Twilley, Bob Wills, and Kevin Welch again, among them. But our greatest poet has to be Woody Guthrie. And yes, he was a poet. Just read the lyrics to “Harness Up The Day”:

wgdoor

Wood Guthrie Center, Tulsa

It’s a wrinkled, crumbled, rumpled look
That’s scattered ‘cross my bed
Where a friend of mine now long gone
Used to lay her restless head
The moon would fall across the sky
The stars would take a peep
And I would stay awake at nights
To watch my lover sleep

Lots of history-making visions
Through my dusty brain would chase
When I’d see the moonlight shimmer
In the shadows on her face
The sun would chase the dreamy moon
The stars from out the skies
The day would break and I would see
The ocean in her eyes

wgsong

Interactive exhibit in Woody Guthrie Center

And in the dew drop glitter
Of some radiant crystal spray
We’d saddle up the weather
And we’d harness up the day
Weld up the eaves and corners
Nail up the hoists and beams
Organize the day of work
To rivet to our dreams

It’s a wrinkled, crumbled, rumpled look
That’s scattered ‘cross my bed
Where a friend of mine now long gonewgmypoem
Used to lay her restless head
The moon would fall across the sky
The stars would take a peep
And I would stay awake at nights
To watch my lover sleep

–Woody Guthrie

Most people are familiar with Woody’s popular songs, but if you take a look through some of the lyrics of his more than 3,000 songs, you will find that he was more than a songwriter–or maybe that the poet in him competed with and complemented the songwriter. The official Woody Guthrie site has all of the song lyrics easily accessible on its website.

And to be entertained by more Woody-stuff, here you go:

Woody Guthrie Center Video: This is a photostory (still photographs and audio) that I did on a recent visit to the Woody Guthrie Center.

Woody Guthrie Center story: This is a story I wrote for Red Dirt Report about the visit mentioned above.

Woody Guthrie Center: This is the website of the Center, located in downtown Tulsa. If you have not been there, you must go! It is a wonderful sensory experience.

–Shaun Perkins

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