Wednesday, February 03, 2016

SoNG: Beth's Song: Ballad of Greenham

Video: Seneca Army Depot truck gate, August 1, 1983 - Women's Video Collective
Music: Helen & Hershe from Peace Camps Sing, produced by Sorrel Hays and Marilyn Ries, 1987

Beth's Song: Ballad of Greenham
by WEFPJ Average Dyke Band - Helen 
PeHP Source: ADB songsheets 1985-87; Peace Camps Sing Cassette,1987

"I wrote this song in 1986 after a woman at Greenham, stood trial for trespass and destruction of property. Some of the words were based on things she said in the courtroom."  ~ Helen

When you rape the earth you rape my body
I can feel her trembling in my soul
As you rip her roots you clog my life's blood
With your poison weapons of control 
 You say you only follow orders -
it's just your job the day's routine
To kill then justify the murder
As you guard and drive your death machines   

Your strength is an illusion
Your lies are an intrusion
on my life, my sacred space.
And the words we've written on your doors to destruction
might be wiped clean but their truth can't be erased.

You'd rip me open like a test site.
Colonize my body like the land
With the law protecting your need for the might
to make sure we know who's in command
You dare to say I damage property
while you destroy and damage lives
You may swear to God I'm guilty
but I say it's you who is being tried. 

The truth is stronger
Women are stronger
than any force that you exert
Ours is the power of the wind and the water
Love for our sisters and our love for the earth.  

You think you're going to stop me
with your laws, your walls, your prison bars
But as I rise up in this struggle to be free
I'll expose your lies for what they are.

I'll be back to cut your fences
Each hole restoring sacred ground
Cut through your lies and pretenses
Until all the walls of fear come down.

The truth is stronger
Women are stronger
Than any force that you exert
Ours is the power of the wind and the water
Love for our sisters and our love for the earth

* The Average Dyke Band (ADB) sprang up at the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace & Justice in the summer of 1985.  The theory they put into action was that songs, singing, and musical instrumentation were not the domain of an exclusive, talented few. They had found that far too many of their sisters fell silent musically because somewhere along the way they were told they didn't have a good voice, couldn't carry a tune, couldn't keep a beat. The ADB, then, was the musical counterpart to WEFPJ's consensus process philosophy and practice - every woman's voice would be heard. They were inclusive, they were average, and they had a damn good time.

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 19, 2008

    WOWZA! who wrote that incredible, amazing, powerful moving song? oh wait, i did!

    ok, well i really am a bit more humble than that : ) but i am so glad that the song has survived with lyrics and music intact, here in this spectacular blog, so that it can continue to inspire us to speak the truth, to sing, write and speak our minds in the face of adversity.

    i am so happy to see all these great songs up here on the web. i wish the words of protest weren't still so pertinent today. that we could be living in peace, instead of having to demand it. someday i hope.

    Love and music! Helen