Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Cloudburst

This is a beautiful song collected in Ebenezer, North Carolina in the 1930s. (The sprawl of Raleigh long since rolled over Ebenezer - it doesn't exist any more.) The song was composed by a firefighter who was part of rescue efforts out around Asheville after the hurricane he describes. The woman who had learned his song and gave it to the songcatcher who visited her said "he was never able to eat meat again."

The Cloudburst

In the month of July in the year of '16
The worst tropical storm that ever was seen
Made its way from the ocean wide
And struck with force on the mountain side

At the head of Jack Branch there was children five,
A mother, and father, and all alive.
They stood in the door and the rain came down,
They saw how swiftly it covered the ground.

The pleading words of little Perry was heard:
"Together to the pines let us go," he said,
But the words of that boy had scarcely been spoken
When the windows of heaven was thrown wide open.

The downpour came in a terrible row.
It struck the house, they were thrown to the flow.
A poor little babe in a cradle at rest
The mother picked up and held to her breast.

Down in an old house that Wilson built
There Lolas and Lilly and the children knelt
Says Wilson to Lolas and to Lilly too:
"Are your children all saved? I only see two."

"Oh, no," says they, "we fear they have drowned,
They've not been seen since the house went down."
Down in a bottom near the Sinclair pond
The bodies of Lewis and Jenny was found.

But poor little Perry has never been found
He lies somewhere below the ground
In a bed of mud and a pillar of clay,
He may not be found till the last Great Day
When the angels come, and the trumpets sound
To wake the dead that's below the ground.

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At 8:33 AM, Blogger kenju said...

How sad.


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