Monday, October 18, 2010
The Living Heart of New York City
She bore down on her work to finish by five
The flush of spring cast in her young eyes
The heartless days spent on the killing floor
She was just 16 but her face spoke so much more.
Her frail hands: the needle pulled the thread
The foreman shouts rattle in her head
She dreams the dreams of the dispossessed
Her time is fleeting, she doesn't know just yet.
The cling and din of the trolley cars below
The short expanse of that open window
The doors are locked to keep out the violators
Those reckless fools, those labor agitators.
A fire it seems to have broken out
She hears the cries, she fears the shouts
The sweatshop gloom breaks into flames
That light this place of forgotten names.
In panic flood, she fights for her place
In that mad clatter, in that ghostly race
No way out: the rush to flee
On the street below, people gather to see.
On the window ledge like an angel she stands
And with her friends they all hold hands
And pray to God their souls to take
Such a choice no one should ever have to make
Time stands still in mid-flight
The city fades into the dying of the light
The masses cry out in a sad embrace
No one there will ever forget this place.
In the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory
Girls from Poland, Girls from Italy
Gave their lives for nothing, for everything
For the living heart of New York City remembering...
THE LIVING HEART OF NEW YORK CITY
WORDS AND MUSIC BY WILLIAM BATES