The Hayseeder’s Lament

Written by W. T. Daffron, my grandfather, of Millport Alabama,
probably in 1932. It was the height of the Great Depression.

The Hayseeder’s Lament

What do you think
About the gink
And all this high-brow clan
Who congregate
And advocate
Bankhead’s reduction plan

We raise our cotton
For markets rotten
We freely will admit
But it’s a fact
This Bankhead Act
Don’t help a doggon bit

We plant the seed
And tend the weed
Side dress with guano
We plow and hoe
Keep on the go
No rest so help us Hannah

We work and sweat
Just fume and fret
And worry every day
Haul it to town
And with a frown
Give half the stuff away

We have to sign
On dotted line
At every turn we make
Then buy permits
And send remits
With that we can rake

We pay the ginner
The real winner
In this old game of chance
His biz is brisk
He takes no risk
Your see that at a glance

We count our dough
And hope to go
Right out and buy a shirt
Some calico
And thread you know
To make the wife a skirt

We heave a sigh
And almost cry
To find we’re in a pickle
A note past due
For 10-2-2
Don’t leave a blessed nickel

No shoes, no socks
No calico frocks
Nor just an old straw lid
Not even a hope
To buy a dope
Or candy for the kid

Can’t sell a cow
A pig or sow
A turkey, goose or guinea
Everyone broke
Their stuff in soak
Nobody’s got a penny

No money to spend
No one to lend
A penny on our note
All of us busted
No one trusted
To lead a billy goat

Everybody knows
We have no clothes
Our children unerfed
So tell us quick
What stunt or trick

We’ll pull to get some bread
“Dope” was Daffron’s term for medicine. Bankhead alludes to one of the
New Deal’s programs. It paid farmers to not plant some acreage in an
effort to raise commodity prices.