Redhead Quickie – Depression Era Series – Pt 3

Our featured poem from Langston Hughes is Homesick Blues. Home is not only where the heart is, and it isn’t always a physical location, but is a place where we are most our self. While this poem may not be my favorite, it is the one where I most relate to the speaker, who’s voice and words never leave me.

De railroad bridge’s
A sad song in de air.
De railroad bridge’s
A sad song in de air.
Ever time de trains pass
I wants to go somewhere.

I went down to de station.
Ma heart was in ma mouth.
Went down to de station.
Heart was in ma mouth.
Lookin’ for a box car
To roll me to de South.

Homesick blues, Lawd,
‘S a terrible thing to have.
Homesick blues is
A terrible thing to have.
To keep from cryin’
I opens ma mouth an’ laughs.


Once I settled on the poem and theme, selecting our featured redhead was simple. It had to be Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Her performance of Somewhere Over the Rainbow carries a message and emotions that are universal. This longing stretches across decades of music; Stephanie Mills’ Home, Subterranean Homesick Blues by Dylan, Carole King’s Home Again, and Home by Foo Fighters. During the Great Depression, home was the hope for a return to normalcy.

judy garland

“Over The Rainbow”
Harold Arlen, E. Harburg

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh, why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow.
Why, oh, why can’t I?
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