Protest Song Lyrics (logo)
Protest Song Lyrics Song lyrics categories Social Justice songs by Year Top 10 songs Musical Links About Protest Songs website


Song: In Contempt, song lyrics

Song: In Contempt
Lyrics: Aaron Kramer(3) and Betty Sanders(4)

Music: Aaron Kramer(3) and Betty Sanders(4)
Year: 1950
Genre: Old English Traditional Fok
Country: USA


Build high, build wide, your prison wall,
That there be room enough for all,
Who hold you in contempt, build wide,
That all the land be locked inside

Though you have seized the valiant few,
Whose glory casts a shade on you.
How can you now go home with ease,
Jangling your heavy dungeon keys.

The birds who still insist on song,
The sun-lit stream still running strong,
The flowers still blazing red and blue,
All are in contempt of you.

The parents dreaming still of peace,
The playful children, the wild geese,
Who still must fly, the mountains too,
Like fists, are in contempt of you!
This song was originally posted on protestsonglyrics.net
When you have seized both moon and sun,
And jailed the poems one by one,
And trapped each trouble-making breeze,
Then you can throw away your keys.

Build high, build wide, your prison wall,
That there be room enough for all,
Who hold you in contempt, build wide,
That all the land be locked inside


Notes:

1 - Original version first printed in "Sing Out" October 1950.

2 - 1952 version sung by Laura Duncan, Ernie Lieberman, Betty Sanders & Osborne Smith.

3 - Poet Aaron Kramer in Wikipedia and at the University of Michigan Library

4 - Other than a picture, there is no biography on Betty Sanders. If you have any information you would like to pass along, it would be appreciated. Thank you. The liner notes to Hootenanny Tonight, 1959, only says both were involved in the writing.

5 - The song was a response to Senator Joseph McCarthy's Un-Amercian Activities Committee.