Dismal Realities

“The land is the land and the land washes itself clean.”  Was a quote Ginny’s father says to her.  It impressed upon me the bleak reality of the world for women, slaves, and perhaps the common folk of the era.  The land will always be there despite the violence done upon it.  And sadly, it will be there when we aren’t.  When they aren’t anymore.  I made me think of the song “Flower” by Moby from the album Play (the link to the song is at the end)  The album has up to a half dozen songs with slave themes and African based hymnals.  “Flower”, is a song based on a “ring-around-the-rosie” slave song.  

The lyrics go as such,

“Green sally up
And green sally down
Lift and squat
Gotta tear the ground
Green sally up
And green sally down
Lift and squat
Gotta tear the ground
Old miss lucy’s dead and gone
Left me here to weep and moan.”

 The following is an explanation of the song written by someone anonymous on a Moby fan site. “‘Green Sally’ means ‘little girl,’ hence the first two lines direct the children to rise up and then squat down in rhythm with the song. “Last one squat gotta tear the ground” means, quite plainly, that the last child to squat has to help the adults with the cotton picking. It’s assumed that this was not a literal rule of the game, but a threat of the “last one home is a rotten egg” variety. The lines, “Old Miss Lucy’s dead and gone, left me here to weep and moan” is indeed a reference to the death of a slave ‘owner’, and in the original song is followed by the lines, “If you hate it, fold your arms; if you love it, clap your hands,” which was a signal for those listening to indicate their feelings towards their ‘master’ by either joining in the rhythmic clapping that accompanies the song, or by refraining from doing so, which would indicate a measure of love/respect/complacency that the individual may have had for the owner.” 

As you can probably see the cynicism of the content of the song being an indicator of the culture of the times. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sWb1iR2mzM)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s