Ben Gieske

Night Riders - Poem by Ben Gieske

I’ve read about the tobacco ills
In 1905 in Hopkinsville,
the Night Riders and their fight
To win back their rights.

No Christian charity in their hearts,
A lust to bring justice to each family
Of tobacco growers in Christian county
And all the surrounding parts.

The vigilante acts of masked men in the night
With torches blazing, warehouses flaming,
Printing presses smashed, men wounded and dying,
Trying to crack tobacco manufacturers might,

Conspiring with prices paid below production cost,
No mind to farmers and their production loss.
It took the military to end the fight.
Then the law to set things right.

It’s been a century now.
The fight for decent wages rages again.
Workers everywhere continue to struggle
While their wages are kept low.

Corporations now rule the world,
No longer prove to be loyal,
Outsourcing jobs while unions are suppressed
and workers hardships not addressed.

The poor laborer suffers still
And presses on with a will

(June 28,2007)

Comments about Night Riders by Ben Gieske

  • (10/22/2007 1:30:00 PM)

    This poem starts with a great flourish that reminds me of the ballad about Paul Revere. It's a very ambitious project, to give the historical background to this episode in history and to place it in context at the end. Maybe the second half needs more of the dashing rhythm of the first two stanzas. Nevertheless, a good piece of work. (Report)Reply

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  • (9/5/2007 7:46:00 PM)

    Interseting historic piece... (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, July 1, 2007

Poem Edited: Friday, March 18, 2011

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