In Case You Missed It II

December 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

I am a regular listener to Amy Goodman’s program “Democracy Now”.   A few days ago, Amy devoted the entire program to a tribute to Yip Harburg.  He was a socialist who wrote and was a significant creator of The Wizard of Oz, Finnian’s Rainbow and several other hit shows on Broadway.  During the McCarthy era he was blacklisted and unable to find work for several years.

Here is a link to the show, narrated by his son discussing Yip’s life.

Here is poem by Yip, read by him at the end of the above linked program.

I copied it from the recording and I have some doubt about the word “because” in the penultimate line.  But even if I made an error, you can get a glimpse of Yip’s irrepressible humor and spirit from his verse.

Lives of Great Men

by Yip Harburg

Lives of great men all remind us

Greatness takes no easy way

All the heroes of tomorrow 

Are the heretics of today.

Socretes and Gallileo;

John Brown Thaureau 

Christ and Debs

Hear the night cry, “Down with traitors”

And at dawn shout “Up the rebs.”

Nothing ever seems to bust em

Gallows, crosses, prison bars

Though we tried to readjust em

There they are among the stars

Why do great men all remind us

We can write our names on high?

All because we leave behind us

Footprints in the FBI


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