Battling Betsy, our Queen of the barrow


I will put ripples in your shoes
and scour the bottom of your river
I will pile red bricks up and picket your horizon
and I will fish Hope street
and shine a light on rooftile rats
like a mouthpiece of steel
I will crumble the wings of wasps
and travel by horseback three hundred miles
to attend your heroic festival
I will hurl a new javelin
and lasso thunder
I will challenge the furies
and the power of aristocrats
I will shuffle down dockside
and pebble you with agitated limestone
because you are broader than a fishmonger
and an embroidery of slave ships
because parliament shanghais your sleep
I will catch dream salmon
in your prison pants
and I will paint you a mythical bird
the color of coal
the color of rust
the color of grain
the color of pride
the color of freedom
the color of nobility
the color of ordinary people
battling bessie, our queen of the barrow
I will steeple your clouds with diamonds
and make olive branches out of your cathedral
I will place black squirrels in the knotholes of your hands
and just to let you know
you are walking with angels
o soft with night!
i will sweep up the stars
and build you a scaffold of sky

By George Wallace