Brian Laidlaw

Poet | Songwriter | Educator

Hangtown Hymn

 

Without picks or shovels in the dry ditch they dug,

Ten thousand dollars two days they drug.

The riches of the riverbed would shock any man

That caught wind on the hot wind of my homeland.

Down on my knees, through the soil I pawed,

And I thought again of the meadowland, and my family and god.

 

Call upon your angels, your prairie seraphim

And sing for your lost son a hangtown hymn.

 

But the riches of the riverbed dried up right quick

So they reroute the river with a dynamite stick

And the thunder that rumbled would shock any man

That caught wind on the hot wind of my homeland.

Then a man from the mine offered up steady pay,

And I thought again of the meadowland as I signed straightaway.

 

Call upon your angels, your prairie seraphim

And sing for your lost son a hangtown hymn.

 

Dust thick as flour filled up my lungs,

It turned into hard tack when it sat on my tongue.

The toil I endured would shock any man

That caught wind on the hot wind of my homeland.

All that I ate was the stone that I carved,

And I thought again of the meadowland as I slowly starved.

 

Call upon your angels, your prairie seraphim

And sing for your lost son a hangtown hymn.

 

Now they caught me stealing in the village last night,

A rope like a rattlesnake coiled ‘round me tight.

The growl of my hunger would shock any man

That caught wind on the hot wind of my homeland.

No hymn was sung, no church bells clanged

And I thought again of the meadowland as my thin body hanged.

 

Call upon your angels, your prairie seraphim

And sing for your lost son a hangtown hymn.