Poetry Corner: My Last Will by Joe Hill

My Last Will by Joe Hill, 1915

The labour troubadour Joe Hill was executed by the state of Utah on November 19, 1915, accused of murdering two shopkeepers. Five years earlier, while working on the docks in California, Hill met members of the IWW and became an active Wobbly. Soon his humorous and biting political songs, like “The Preacher and the Slave,”1 were being sung on picket lines across the country. From his jail cell in Utah, Hill wrote to “Big Bill” Haywood in a telegram, “Don’t waste time mourning. Organize!”—a line that became a slogan of the U.S. labour movement. On the eve of his execution, Hill penned these words.” – From Voices of a People’s History

*

Joe Hill, 1879 – 1915

My will is easy to decide
For there is nothing to divide
My kin don’t need to fuss and moan
“Moss does not cling to a rolling stone”
My body? Ah, If I could choose
I would to ashes it reduce
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow
Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again
This is my last and final will
Good luck to all of you, Joe Hill

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