Aggressive Regionalism: Texts

7. Woody Guthrie, “Pastures of Plenty”

Woody Guthrie, “Pastures of Plenty,” reprinted in Roll on Columbia: The Columbia River Songs, ed. Bill Murlin
(Portland?: Bonneville Power Administration, 1987),10-11.

Tune: Pretty Polly var.

It’s a mighty hard row that my poor hands have hoed,
My poor feet have travelled a hot dusty road,
Out of the dust bowl and westward we rolled,
And your deserts are hot, and your mountains they’re cold

I worked in your orchards of peaches and prunes,
And I slept on the ground ‘neath the light of the moon;
I picked in your cotton, cut grapes from your vine,
And I set on your table your light sparkling wine.

We travel with the wind and the rain in our face,
Our families migrating from place unto place;
We’ll work in your beet fields’ till sundown tonight,
Travel 300 miles ‘fore the mornin’ gets light.

Arizona, California, we’ll make all your crops,
It’s northward to Oregon to gather your hops;
Strawberries, cherries, and apples the best,
In that sunshiny land call’d the Pacific Northwest.

It takes home loving mothers and strong hearted men;
Every state in this Union us migrants has been;
‘Long the edge of your cities you’ll see us, and then,
We’ve come with the dust and we’re gone in the wind.

I picked up a rich clod of dirt in my hand,
I crumble it back into strong fertile land;
The greatest desire in this world that I know
Is to work on my land where there’s green things to grow.

I think of the dust and the days that are gone,
And the day that’s to come on a farm of our own;
One turn of the wheel and the waters will flow
‘Cross the green growing field, down the hot thirsty row.

Look down the canyon and there you will see
The Grand Coulee showers her blessings on me;
The lights for the city for factory, and mill,
Green Pastures of Plenty from dry barren hills.

It’s always we’ve rambled, that River and I,
It’s here on her banks and I’ll work till I die,
My land I’ll defend with my life if needs be;
‘Cause my Pastures of Plenty must always be Free!

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