A selection of quotes by Woody Guthrie - Click here to license a quote by Woody Guthrie


I hate a song that makes you think you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling. I'm out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you.

I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own songs and to sing the kind that knock you down farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think you've not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I'd starve to death before I'd sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow.

Music is a tone of voice, the sound life uses to keep the living alive. They call us back many times a day from the brinks of torture - the holes of superstition. There never was a sound that was not music - there's no real trick of creating words to set to music - once you realize that the word is the music and the people are the song.

Watch the kids. Do like they do. Act like they act. Yell like they yell. Dance the ways you see them dance. Sing like they sing. Work and rest the way the kids do. You'll be healthier. You'll feel weathier. You'll talk wiser. You'll go higher, do better, and live longer here amongst us if you'll just only jump in here and swim around in these kids sings and do like the kids do. I don't want the kids to be grownup. I want to see the grown folks be kids.

I love a good man outside the law,
just as much as I hate a bad man inside the law.

-Woody Guthrie, "Pretty Boy Floyd" lyric sheet notation, 1940's.

"Life's pretty tough . . . you're lucky if you live through it." - WWG


This is our country here as far as you can see no matter which way you walk or
No matter what spot of it you stand on
And when you have crossed her as many times as I have you will
     see as many ugly things about her as pretty things
You will hear whole gangs of travelers and settlers arguing
     about her.
What she is, how she come to be, what you are supposed to do here.
     and you will hear some argue at you
That she is so beautiful you are supposed to spend your life just
     feeling her pretty parts,
Sucking in her sweetest breezes and tasting her fairest odors,
     looking at her brightest colored scenes,
And I would say that gang has the wrong notion.
And there are some bunches that tell you she is all ugly and all
     dirty, that there is nothing good about her, nothing free, nothing
     clean, that she is all slums, shacks, rot, filth, stink, and bad
     odors, loud words of bitter flavors,
Well, this herd is big and I heard them often and I heard them loud,
     but I come to think that they too was just as wrong as the first
Because I seen the pretty and I seen the ugly and it was because I
     knew the pretty part that I wanted to change the ugly part,
     Because I hated the dirty part that I knew how to feel the love
     for the cleaner part,
I looked in a million of her faces and eyes, and I told myself there
     was a look on that face that was good, if I could see it there,
     in back of all of the shades and shadows of fear and doubt and
     ignorance and tangles of debts and worries,
And I guess it is these things that make our country look all lopsided
     to some of us, lopped over onto the good and easy side or over
     onto the bad and the hard side,
I know that the people that run our desks and offices got so full
     of the desire to grab enough money to run away and hide on, that
     they let this thought run them, instead of the bigger plan,
     well, this has always been a hard word to say, but
It could very truly be that our office people are doing the best they
     know how to do,
But we had ought to teach ourselves better and higher than this
     before we run ourselves and put ourselves into our offices.

Words by Woody Guthrie, Copyright © 2001 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. Use without permission prohibited.


"I took a bath this morning in six war speeches, and a sprinkle of peace. Looks like ever body is declaring war against the forces of force. That's what you get for building up a big war machine. It scares your neighbors into jumping on you, and then of course they them selves have to use force, so you are against their force, and they're aginst yours. Look like the ring has been drawed and the marbles are all in. The millionaires has throwed their silk hats and our last set of drawers in the ring. The fuse is lit and the cannon is set, and somebody is in for a frailin. I would like to see every single soldier on every single side, just take off your helmet, unbuckle your kit, lay down your rifle, and set down at the side of some shady lane, and say, nope, I aint a gonna kill nobody. Plenty of rich folks wants to fight. Give them the guns."

From WOODY SEZ, a collection of articles written by Woody for the PEOPLE'S WORLD
Copyright © 1975 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. Use without permission prohibited.

UNTITLED (excerpted)

Love is the only God that I’ll ever believe in.

The books of the holy bible never say but one time just exactly what God is, and in those three little words it pours out a hundred million college educations and says, God Is Love.

And that is the only real definite answer to ten thousand wild queries and questions that I my own self tossed at my bible. That is the only really sensible, easy, honest, warm, plain, quick and clear answer I found - when I was ready to throw so-called fearful cowardly thieving poisoning religion out my trash door, it was those three words that made not only religion, but also several other sorts of superstitious fears and hatreds in me meet one very quick death.

God is Love.
God is really love.

Love can be, and sure enough is, moving in all things, in all places, in all forms of life at the same snap of your finger.

Love is the powers of magnetic powers and repulsions that causes all shapes and forms of life to run to a hotspot and meet its mate.

Love makes this wonder then, in fifty thousand billions of uncounted trillions of life’s forms, shapes, patterns, in every step and in every stage of life; in the lives of the living cells, in the lives of the living bugs; the lives of the biting insects; the lives of the living reptiles, the lives of the living animals; and in the very life bloods of all the living forms of birds; and in the same plain ways all through the moves and the actions, the very thoughts, of every human being that travels here in plain view of our eyes.

Love moves them all. And in all of them love does move.

And wherever I look to see a wiggle or a waggle or a shape of humanly form, there I know is a thing not to be in any way hated, not in any matter despized nor even feared, nor shadowed around with insane cold suspicions; but to test forever and for all my days and for all my nights too, my powers of love, (I mean by that) my own powers to love.

Love casts out hate.
Love gets rid of all fears.
Love washes all clean.
Love forgives all debts.
Love forgets all mistakes.

Love overcomes all errors and excuses and pardons and understands the key reasons why the mistake, the error, the stumble, the sprawl, the fall, was made.

Love heals all.
Love operates faster and surer than space or time, or both.

Love does not command you, order you, dictate to you, nor even try to base your acts and your actions; love much rather asks for you to tell its forces what to do and where to go and how to build up your planet(s) here by the blueprint plans of your warmest heart desire.

Love can’t operate in your behalf as long as your own sickly fear will not permit love to operate in your behalf.

Love is universal.
Love governs the spin and the whirl of this earthly planet all around through your skies here;
Love moves and love balances every other planet star you see there above you by the uncounted blue jillions.
Love moves and balances fifty billion and more kinds of powers and rays and forces inside every little grain of sand. And love causes peace and harmony to whirl a new whole universe on the inside of every little atom.

Love catches up with space.
Love outruns time.
Love makes the big world little and the little world big.

Love makes all good seed fertile.
Love multiplies and love divides.

Love is in the triggery works of all mathematical numberings.

Love moves to drive the weather and all of the powers of your elements. I see above all how your minds and your storms and all of your clear sunny skies are not just big accidents.

Love allows no accident to happen.
Love lets no waster occur.
Love wastes no ounce of motion.

Love works all mysteries.
Love works all miracles; yet I call no working of love a miracle. (Nor a mystery).

Love labours only for the next good and welfare of the most people; for by doing the most good for the most people, love operates fastest.

Love balances, holds, and controls all the moves and acts of the sun; the sun must shine by the grace and permit and by the very permission of love itself.

Love fires and burns and boils around in every inch of the great fiery belly and great fiery face of the sun, but, love also does the same job for several other millions of great suns Greater in size and power than yonder's daily new morning sun.

Love is all force.
Love is all power.
Love is all energy.
Love is all strength.
Love is all health.
Love is all beauty.
Love is all good work well done.
Love is all fun.
Love is all pleasure, all joys known.
Love is all eternity.
Love is here now.
Love is the thinker of every good thought.
Love is all there be.
Love is all space. There be no space that is empty of love.
Love ties all things together.
Love makes all things one thing.
Love lends all. Love takes all.

Love flows over with more love lights than all of the great splashes of all our great sunshiney waterfalls.Love kisses above and down below your waterfalls.

Love makes all your good & bad laws and love takes up your own sickly laws and breaks them into sand grains just for the laffs and for the kicks.

Love is always glad to make you gladder.
Love feels sad when it makes you sadder.
Love works best when you give it a big job of work to do.
Love loves you most when you love love the most.
Love sees you best when you see love the best.
Love finds you when you find love.Love finds you where you find love.
Love meets you where you meet love.
Love gives to you what you give to love.
Love loves most of all to work for you.

Love loves most of all to build up or to tear down as you desire and as you command.

I say to you, take up your post and your command of love.
I say to you, take up your very own gift and talent.
I say to you, take up your power of command.
I say to you (and to all of you and yours), take up your word, take word of your command.
I say to you, this power to command the absolutely neutral powers of love, this command is your very own birthright; no piece nor coin, no pile of gold, no penny paid, no dollar mailed, no stamp licked; no priest asked, no minister called-unless you so desire it and so command things to be thusly and solely (for the well and goodful use of most of us).

Command love to work with you and for you.

Command love to operate in you and through you to heal, to help, to lift, to bless, to cleanse and to spread the good word and the good news that the day of human hate and fear and dark lostness is all over and all gone and a day of new bright command at your hand;
For your own sense of your own commandery will grow only as you pass the great command (word) onto all of your dear dearly beloveds in humanly shapes of misery, till your commands sets them freed into their own commandery

To love is to shape, to plan, to order and to command.
To know how to love fully you must learn how to command fully.

No human is full grown till the love tells him to command all. Fear before none. Quiver before nothing. Kneel at no spot. Beg no cure. Be a slave to none and master to none.
Command the skies.
Command the planets.
Command the starlights.
Command the very heavens.
Command love to move and to act for you and your sweet mate-and for all the other such love praise like you and your mate and your children.

Command your plan (in love) to come to pass.

The resolution in my union hall is a command passed on in love for the best welfare of the union members.

You have to learn to love even your most deadly bitter enemy if you'd really hit the most high peak trail of your own powers as a love commander. You must bring death to none and life to all or you'll just never quite tip the high top as a love commander.

Your love command must forever be just exactly the direct opposite of war's crazy baseless hatreds. Peace. Peace. And sweet sweet peace must be the song of thy tongue tip. Peace is love. Love is peace. Your love command must for all eternity and be your peace command.

One true love commander can turn the universes of hate into heavenroads and byways of love, love, love.
Sweet love.
Sweet love.
Sweet love.

Copyright © Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. Use without permission prohibited.






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