The Milkweed Diaries

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We come in peace, to dig and sow

Today LJ and JDH IV and I dug a new bed, in which Bud planted 2 long rows of seed corn.

I'll plant black beans in between the corn rows tonight once it cools down a little.

It was so delightful to dig with friends. Unbelievably, we didn't think to sing the Diggers anthem that LJ and I have been singing intermittantly for the past 24 hours, which actually mentions corn specifically - more on this later.

Bud says that the first time he planted corn was in 1998 after he got back from England (home of the original Diggers of 1649 fame, incidentally). So 10 years later, he's still planting corn. He's planted it pretty much everywhere he's lived -- mostly in cities. I remember him tending a couple of rows on Crown Street in West Asheville years ago when we first knew each other.

Here's Bud planting corn today.

I wonder if corn was grown on this land in prehistory? It's an ancient, ancient food, and I'm grateful to Bud for blessing this land by planting some here now.

Now, back to the Diggers. I've heard this song called both "The Diggers' Song" and "World Turned Upside Down" -- it was written by Leon Rosselson based on the true history, and the first version I heard and loved was performed by John McCutcheon. Later I came to to love Billy Bragg's version too.

It's a great song for today's digging with friends, and all work to restore and renew the commons, cultivate land, grow food, resist "the god of greed," and build community....

In 1649
To St. George’s Hill,

A ragged band they called the Diggers
Came to show the people’s will

They defied the landlords

They defied the laws

They were the dispossessed
reclaiming what was theirs

We come in peace they said

To dig and sow

We come to work the lands in common

And to make the waste ground grow

This earth divided

We will make whole

So it will be

A common treasury for all

The sin of property

We do disdain

No man has any right to buy and sell

The earth for private gain

By theft and murder

They took the land

Now everywhere the walls

Spring up at their command

They make the laws

To chain us well

The clergy dazzle us with heaven

Or they damn us into hell

We will not worship

The God they serve

The God of greed who feeds the rich

While poor folk starve

We work we eat together
We need no swords

We will not bow to the masters

Or pay rent to the lords
Still we are free

Though we are poor

You Diggers all stand up for glory

Stand up now

From the men of property

The orders came

They sent the hired men and troopers

To wipe out the Diggers’ claim

Tear down their cottages

Destroy their corn

They were dispersed

But still the vision lingers on

You poor take courage

You rich take care

This earth was made a common treasury

For everyone to share

All things in common

All people one

We come in peace

The orders came to cut them down

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