My Poetry

THE TRAIL OF RED TEARS

This poem was written specifically to be sung to the tune of,
"The Battle Of New Orleans," by Johnny Horton.

In 1830 we took a little trip,
Along with Colonel Jackson 'cross the mighty mississip'.
We didn't have no bacon and we didn't have no flour,
Our young and old were sick and starving, dying by the hour.

We owned the land but the white man kept on comin',
Now there's twice as many as there was a while ago,
We won in court but King Jackson just ignored it,
And sent us down The Trail Of Tears into the bloody snow.

Old Hickory said the Highest Court is just for white's,
So it doesn't matter that you won because you have no rights,
You own these lands and we all know that it's so,
But we don't want your kind around here, so you gotta go.

We fired our guns but the white man kept on coming,
Now there's twice as many as there was a while ago,
The Bluecoats came and they sent The People runnin'
Across the Mississippi down the trail of bloody snow.

Well, the Bluecoats came and they threw us off our land,
And they executed anyone who tried to take a stand,
They rounded us up like a herd of their livestock,
Then they sat there on their horses and they ordered us to walk.

The land was ours but the white man had to have it,
Because there's twice as many as there was a while ago,
We beat them in court so they just came and took it,
We have the right by God they said, Old Hickory told us so.

Well, we marched all day till our feet were bloody sores,
Then the Bluecoats pointed guns at us and made us march some more,
They shot the ones who dared to fall behind,
And left them lying in the mud for scavengers to find.

We lived in peace but the white man kept on coming,
And there's even more now than there was a while ago,
Our children died but the Bluecoats kept us marching,
On down the trail of blood until we died there in the snow.

The worst time of all was when we had to go a swimmin'
It was deadly for the children, for the elders, and the women,
We didn't want to do it but they forced us in the river,
Into water that was cold enough to make a dead man shiver.

We gave them land but the white man kept a-comin'
Now there's twice as many as there was a while ago,
Our skin is red so King Jackson doesn't want us,
He sent us down The Trail Of Tears into the bloody snow.

They marched us over mountains, through the valleys and the streams,
But the Bluecoat's ears were deafened to our dying children's screams,
Our people died lying face down in the mud,
Now forever stained red by a noble nation's blood.

We tried to stop but the Bluecoats fired at us,
Now we're not as many as we were a while ago,
We tried once more and they began to beat us,
And chased us down the trail of red tears through the bloody snow.

They made us march through the wind, and, snow, and rain,
But Lord Jackson's heart is blackened stone, it's useless to complain,
The freezing rain soaked right through our ragged clothes,
Blessed were the ones who lay beside the trail and froze.

Our children died but the Bluecoats kept us marchin'
Now we're even fewer than we were a while ago,
Blood fell like rain but they made us keep on marching,
On down the Trail Of Bloody Tears and bodies in the snow.


Charles Ramos Jr.  2004
Yaqi, Choctaw, and adopted by the United Lumbee Nation. 
Bear Clan Warrior First Class.
We shall never forget,
not as long as the wind blows, and the grass grows.

Categories: My Poetry

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