Friday

Mar. 17, 2006

St. Louis Blues

by W. C. Handy

FRIDAY, 17 MARCH, 2006
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Poem: "St. Louis Blues" by W. C. Handy. Public Domain.

St. Louis Blues

I hate to see de ev'nin' sun go down,
Hate to see de ev'nin' sun go down,
'Cause ma baby, he don lef dis town.

Feelin' tomorrow lak ah feel today,
Feel tomorrow lak ah feel today,
I'll pack my trunk, make ma gitaway.

St. Louis woman, wid her diamon' rings.
Pulls dat man roun' by her apron strings.
'Twant for pawder an' for store-bought hair,
De man ah love would not gone nowhere, nowhere.

God de St. Lois Blues jes as blue as ah can be,
Dat man got a heart lak a rock cast in the sea,
Or else he wouldn't have gone so far from me.

Been to de Gypsy to get ma fortune tole,
To de Gypsy done got ma fortune tole,
'Cause I'm most wile 'bout ma Jelly Roll

Gypsy done tole me "Don't you wear no black."
Yes she done tole me, "Don't you wear no black,
Go to St. Louis. You can win him back."

Help me to Cairo, make St. Louis by maself,
Git to Cairo, find ma ole friend Jeff.
Gwine to pin maself close to his side,
If ah flag his train, I sho' can ride.

I loves dat man lak a schoolboy loves his pie,
Lak a Kentucky Col'nel loves his mint an' rye,
I'll love ma baby till the day ah die.

You ought to see dat stovepipe brown of mine,
Lak he owns de Dimon Joseph line,'
He'd make a cross-eyed 'oman go stone blin'.

Blacker than midnight, teeth lak flags of truce,
Blackest man in de whole St. Louis,
Blacker de berry, sweeter am de juice.

About a crap game, he knows a pow'ful lot,
But when work-time comes, he's on de dot.
Gwine to ask him for a cold ten-spot,
What it takes to git it, he's cert'nly got.

A black-headed gal makes a freight train jump the track,
Said a black-headed gal makes a freight train jump the track,
But a long tall gal makes a preacher ball the Jack.

Lawd, a blond-headed woman makes a good man leave the town,
I said blond-headed woman makes a good man leave the town,
But a read-headed woman makes a boy slap his papa down.

Oh ashes to ashes and dust to dust,
I said ashes to ashes and dust to dust,
If my blues don't get you my jazzing must.


Literary and Historical Notes:

Today is St. Patrick's Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Ireland. There will be parades and celebrations in cities all across the world, but the holiday has always been most popular in the United States.

St. Patrick was born around the year 385 in a village in Wales. When he was sixteen, a group of Irish pirates raided his village and took many of the young men back to Ireland to work as slaves. Patrick worked for six years as a herdsman in the Irish countryside. In his sixth year, he escaped and made his way back to Wales. But, according to his autobiography, soon after he got back home he heard a voice telling him to go back to Ireland and convert the Irish to Christianity. That's eventually what he did, but first he went to France to visit monasteries and study religious texts. After twelve years in France, he went back to Ireland, where he founded monasteries, schools and churches, and converted much of the island to Christianity. Patrick transformed many pagan traditions into Christian ones.


It was on this day in 1776 that British forces evacuated Boston during the Revolutionary War. The defeat ended the eight-year British occupation of the city, and it was during those eight years that events such as the Boston Massacre occurred.

Most of the artillery used to surround Boston had been captured by Henry Knox at Fort Ticonderoga in New York during that winter. Knox used his men, their horses and oxen to drag over 120,000 pounds of artillery through ice and snow for three hundred miles back to Boston for the fortification.

British general Sir William Howe was told he was completely surrounded, he gave up Boston without a fight. Eleven thousand British troops and more than 1,000 remaining British loyalists boarded ships, and later they left Boston, retreating to Halifax, Nova Scotia.


It was on this day in 1901 that Vincent Van Gogh's paintings were shown at the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris. The exhibit made Van Gogh's work famous. There were seventy-one paintings in the Paris exhibit, and all of them showed the bright colors and intense brush strokes the Van Gogh became known for. Van Gogh committed suicide eleven years earlier, never knowing how influential his paintings would become.


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