Sixteen stories, all based on the historical record, brought to life in a range of styles, all rooted musically in the Americana movement

The Songs

The songs of Rain Follows the Plow comprise an anthology or series of vignettes following a narrative arc from the end of the “good years” through the relentless drought and soul-crushing dust storms of the 1930s, from hope and hucksterism to remorse and calls for redemption. The songs honor the tenacity and dignity of the people who suffered through those years, while also serving as cautionary tales about what can happen when we bend nature too far.

This web site presents an evolving project. All the songs have been recorded by talented interpreters from the Washington DC area folk/Americana music scene. A "version 1.0" CD is available at shows. For broadcast or review copies, contact maestro@rainfollowstheplow.com.

All songs written by Stephen R Coffee unless otherwise noted. Copyright 2013 to 2015. All rights reserved.

1. Gone Went and Done It, Part 1

An invocation from the troubadour

Come and listen to our story my friends:

There it was, the buffalo had done had its day
the Indians had all been spirited away
cattle never did much good anyway
But folks was making money growing wheat yes they was
making big money growing wheat

The finest grassland the world has ever seen
growing in the bed of a Mesozoic sea
Was all laid to waste by gumption and greed
and it didn’t take no time at all no sir
it didn’t take no time at all
No sir                    No sir
It didn’t take no time at all

Well you hear about the people that hit the highway
and fell on hard times out in California
well lots of folks left but most folks stayed
listen to our stories my friend my friend
listen to our stories my friend
My friend            My friend
Listen to our stories my friend

Timothy White

2. Beer Town / Come to Mama's

Raggedy debauchery in No Man’s Land

Every good Western has its campy saloon/whorehouse scene, and the Plains in the 20s and 30s still had one foot solidly in the Old West. The forces of prudence couldn’t surmount the entrenched frontier mentality and its tolerance for vice. There were “good years,” with lots of money made on wheat during the Great War and on moonshine during Prohibition. It was a place where gangsters like Pretty Boy Floyd could hide in plain sight.

Well, there ain’t no roads in No Man’s Land
cause who would want to go there
and if you’ve come to roam this land
you’re on the road to nowhere
but if you care to sit a spell
and lay some money down
you’ll get to where you’re going
‘cause all roads lead to
Beer Town, Beer Town
Bohemia of the plains
there’s free beer tomorrow
every time it rains

Now you might favor Falstaff
or maybe Pabst Blue Ribbon
Or Stag or Schlitz or Anchor Steam
but you could be forgiven
they’re boiling down the broom corn now
and passing it around
the only beer in No Mans Land
is fresh and warm in
Beer Town, Beer Town
Gomorroah of the Plains
there’s free beer tomorrow
every time it rains

A stranger might be wondering
where are all the women
maybe they’ve gone for a ride
or better yet gone swimming
maybe they’ve gone to a store
to buy an evening gown
well there ain’t no women in No Man’s Land
unless you go

Next door to the beer hall
across the road from the pool hall
with a Cadillac parked out back
and a busy hitching post
there’s a happy hacienda
full of women to befriend ya
they’re better tempered than your horse
and prettier than most

Come to Mama’s
you dusty old ranger
you don’t have to know what to say
my girls never met a stranger
come to mama’s
just for a laugh
how long since you’ve seen a bosom?
how long since you’ve had a bath?

Downstairs, play some poker
with the banker and all his jokers
you might sit next to Pretty Boy Floyd
or some such dignitary
later on talk to Alice
She’s from Denver, by way of Dallas
and her favorite position is
Prohibitionary

Come to Mama’s
We’ll fit you right in
we’ll saddle you up and ride you’round
until you’re broken in
come to mama’s
just for a laugh
how long since you’ve seen a bosom?
how long since you’ve had a bath

 

Original Cast Featuring Steve Coffee and Elizabeth Stone

Elizabeth Stone sings the role of Mama and plays piano. Chuck Haskins plays the fiddle.

3. The Impossible Sky

A farm wife’s first impressions of prairie life

Ruth, the homesteader, is inspired largely by Caroline Henderson, the Dust Bowl’s leading literary figure. In this first of three Ruth songs, we are touched by not only her hope and optimism, but her genuine love for a part of the earth that strikes many as forlorn and forbidding.

Dear Sister, It’s so nice to read your letter
I so rarely get to visit
living out here on the farm so far from people
do you really want to hear
about the way we homesteaders live?

Well it’s hard, maybe harder than expected
imagine my surprise
to find out that what we’d call our house
was really just a hole in the ground
our neighbors, the centipedes and snakes

But the sky, the impossible sky
this ever-changing dome
it truly is our home
and the earth, the bountiful earth
the endless horizon
it’s all here
the air so clear
the stars so near

These days, my husband is the tallest thing I see
we have to ride down to the creek
to find a tree
the way we stick out above the grass
we must look like stray whiskers
on the face of the earth

and the wind, oh the storms they are so fearsome
they stomp around like giants
and hurl their thunderbolts
we scurry like the little owls
and prairie dogs
and dive into our burrow in the ground

But the sky, the impossible sky
this luminescent dome
it truly is our home
and the earth, the bountiful earth
the endless horizon
it’s all here
the air so clear
the stars so near

Last evening, we walked between the furrows
all the way down to the fence
at the far end of the field
and I felt love, yes love
for the little shoots of green
so tender, and yet so brave

but the sky, the impossible sky
we wheel around within it
you can feel the planet spinning
and the earth, the bountiful earth
the endless horizon
it’s all here, the air so clear
the stars so near

The Glimpses

Mercedes Mill and Matthew Leonard, with Chuck Haskins on violin and Niels Jonker on bass

4. Rain Follows the Plow

Hubris and folly and a sucker born every minute

It was a headlong rush to kill or round up the Indians, kill off the buffalo, and even drive out the cowboys, all essentially in the interest of real estate development. For the settlers, when hope is all you have in the bank, slogans become something to hold onto. The irony is that people thought they could change the climate.

Come Hendersons and Heinrichs, MacAllen’s and O’Malley’s
We’re living off the fat of the land
Our progress won’t be hindered by no mountains or valleys
for it’s flat as your mama’s frying pan
I like this country fine, I like it mighty good
the wind pumps all the water and the cow chops all the wood
people try to tell you it’s been dry up till now
but the rain                                        -- follows the plow

The Great American Desert it soon will be defeated
I heard the agriculture man say
the soil is the one thing that cannot be depleted
and the climate grows wetter by the day
Don’t listen to the Indians, they’re a superstitious lot
don’t listen to the cowboys, there a bunch of drunken sots
We’re next year people living in the here and now
and the rain                                        -- follows the plow

Just use your common sense (the lord shall provide)
the end of innocence (the lord shall provide)
locusts plague and pestilence (the lord shall provide)
and the lord shall provide
and the rain follows the plow
and the rain                        --
The railroad pushes west, you can ride it for free
sending smoke and steam up to the sky
Nesters break the soil, plant their crops and trees
and the clouds roll in by and by
fortune favors folks that roll up their sleeves
next thing you know we’ll bringing in the sheaves
it’s our destiny to take all that nature will allow
and the rain                                        -- follows the plow

Looks like it might could rain
Sure enough feels like rain
I’d swear I can smell the rain
and the lord shall provide
and the rain follows the plow
and the rain                                        -- follows the plow

Harley String Band

Steve Coffee, Jim Johnson, Jim Clark

5. Indian Joe

Living memory of the great plains

In the 1930s, there were still Native Americans who had lived the traditional, nomadic lifestyle of the Plains and had battled the US government. Ostensibly confined to reservations, they would sometimes haunt the edges of “civilization,” if only to see what all the fuss was about. One imagines that settlers would have had a grudging respect, as well as suspicion.

Indian Joe was named a "Top Five" winner in the Great American song Contest and received an Honorable Mention in the Woody Guthrie songwriting contest.

Did you hunt the buffalo?
Can you still see buffalo
steaming in the morning glow
smell their blood, hear ‘em low
when the sun spoke Arapaho
Indian Joe

You wear your hat pulled over your eyes
you don’t look no one in the eyes
little children run and hide
women cross to the other side
but the cowboys say no one can ride like
Indian Joe, mm hmmm

you ride the old Comanche trail
what’s left of the Comanche trail
you ride through snow and wind and hail
you’d rather face the coffin nail
than the reservation or the jail
Indian Joe, oh where are your people?

You watched the grassland disappear
the wolf and wildcat disappear
everything that you held dear
thunderbird, pronghorn deer,
bow and arrow, and the spear
Indian Joe, where are your people?

Did you dance to bring the rain?
hey, you could dance to bring the rain?
you warrior of the wind’s domain
lightening on the open plain
running like an open vein
Indian Joe, where are your people
Indian Joe, where are your people?

Kevin Dudley

6. Six Inches to Hell

Cowboys on the folly of turning over the soil

While it’s true that cattle were never well adapted to the harsh conditions of the high plains—certainly not like the buffalo—ranching had gained some traction in the region. The cowboys certainly understood the value of the prairie and were generally appalled to see it plowed up.

Miles to water
Miles to wood
Six inches to hell

Right side up
The prairie grasses rise
reaching up into the sky
a magic carpet rich and fine
big as that horizon line
roots grow just as far below
to feed longhorn and buffalo
The cowboys they just ride and rope
and sing, ‘cause it’s…

one by one
the nesters come around
string their fences strip the ground
pioneers with Turkish wheat
tethered to their county seats
cast their faces to the sky
dollar signs in their eyes
as if the clouds could hear their cries
oh why? ‘cause it’s…

upside down
roots severed in the sun
the damage is already done
the living layer up and gone
leaving ground as hard as bone
the prairie soil set free to fly
blows into the devil’s eye
now there’s hell to satisfy
oh why? ‘cause it’s

Miles to water
Miles to wood
Six inches to hell, boys
Six inches to hell

Tom Bodine, with Jim Johnson and Ron Goad

7. One Way Plow

Varmints in the role of court jester

Locusts, plagues, and pestilence. Settlers faced many natural enemies and competitors. With the basis of the ecosystem overturned, things got drastically out of balance. At times, jackrabbit populations exploded. They could destroy a crop as fast as grasshoppers. Roundups were held and rabbits were killed by the thousands.

coyote sings his tune while he’s
while he’s emptying your chicken coop
plays his banjo under the moon
coyote
coyote cleans your plate
tells your fortune while you wait
meet you at the pearly gates
coyote

says farmer farmer
make it pay
run your tractor night and day
farmer farmer
one way plow
not enough sense too much know-how

jack rabbit running in a pack
thick as fleas on a hound dog’s back
cut your wheat for a mid-day snack
jack rabbit
jack rabbit bouncing on the bed
fight you for your shortening bread
round em up and knock ‘em in the head
jack rabbit

says farmer farmer
make it pay
run your tractor night and day
farmer farmer
one way plow
not enough sense too much know-how

grasshopper darkening the sky
give ‘em wheat they’ll take the rye
catch a bushel and bake ‘em in a pie
grasshopper
grasshopper gnawing on the bone
about as bad as a banker’s loan
who gonna reap what you have sown
grasshopper

says farmer farmer
make it pay
run your tractor night and day
farmer farmer
one way plow
not enough sense too much know-how

Original Cast featuring Steve Coffee

Thanks to Jim Johnson and Marcy Cochran

8. If It Rains

Unsettling of the settlers

At the midpoint of our story, we find Ruth’s natural optimism stretched thin. Things aren’t going as planned. Farmers had graduated beyond subsistence and become capitalists, just in time for the Great Depression. Hunger was widespread nationally, but there was little money to buy farm products. Drought went on year after year, and the dust storms defied description.

Dear Sister I’m sorry it’s taken so long
To reply to your letter so much has gone wrong
the country’s so poor no one’s buying our grain
we keep planting more in spite of no rain
last year’s harvest sits by the tracks
this year’s harvest won’t fill up a sack

if it rains we can put in a garden
if it rains we’ll get back in the fields
if it rains we’ll buy shoes for the children
save something back for seed for next year
if it rains

With no rain since autumn and almost no snow
And now the dust is beginning to blow
It sticks in your throat and seeps into your house
Just like the depression you can’t keep it out
There’s dust in the butter, dust in the cream
Dust on your pillow Dust in your dreams

if it rains we’ll catch up on the taxes
if it rains we can salvage some wheat
if it rains we can pay off the grocer
have something besides biscuits to eat
if it rains

The farms are all blowing around in the wind
One county blows out, another blows in
Poor Mr. Mitchell drove into a ditch
he was trying to get home but the dust was so thick
they found him next morning he’d wandered away
The dust it giveth and it taketh Away

if it rains
if it rains
if it rains

The Glimpses

9. Squall Line

Beginning of the end

The “dusters” delivered a serious dose of shock and awe, represented here by electric guitars. Complete blackness in the middle of the day. Thousands of tons of soil were blowing around, day by day, stripping the bedrock here, smothering farms there. What would a young Indian have made of the scene? Poetic license taken.

It come rolling out of Canada
like a herd of mastodons
running from the glaciers
a new Ice Age coming on

Big line of thunderheads
Blue Norther on the loose
Better call in the ponies
bundle up the papoose

The world is out of balance
that’s what the old ones say
Maybe they’re on to something
Maybe it’s the Judgment Day

Squall line, Squall line
Something’s blowing in the wind
Squall line, Squall line
must be the beginning of the end

It come down from the purple majesty
looking for the amber waves
scooping up the barren earth like
souls from the grave
Black dirt from Kansas
Yellow from New Mexico
red from Oklahoma
blow twister blow

Trouble with the white man
he don’t know earth from dust
can’t tell the faithful lover
from the object of his lust
you can stir the ashes
pray the lord your soul to keep
the earth lies waiting for us all
but dust never sleeps

Vic Cook

with Niels Jonker on bass, Chuck Haskins on fiddle, Jeff Smith on dobro, Steve Coffee, Jim Johnson, and Jim Clark on backing vocals.

10. Black Sunday

First person abyss

April 14, 1935 is the natural climax of the Dust Bowl story. What began as a beautiful clear day, tempting hope, turned into a monstrous dust storm, considered the worst in American history. It was a crushing experience for many. Days later, the wave of dust literally blew into the halls of Congress, finally getting the attention of Washington.

It was such a pretty morning
the sky a crystal blue
and it felt just like a blessing
after all that we’d been through
everybody went outside
you could just about see forever
for once it wasn’t blowing
kids went running down the lane
people called to one another
went to church and prayed for rain
we were still a hopeful people you could
almost believe the worst was over
it was such a pretty morning
on Black Sunday

mama opened up the windows
hung the laundry on the line
daddy piled us in the car
why don’t we all go for a drive
so we went down to the creek
just to mess around and look for crawdads
Little Jesse saw it first
she said Billy come and see
there’s a big ol’ mountain range
where it didn’t used to be
I said Jesse them ain’t mountains that’s Nebraska
and it’s coming right at us
No I never will forget
Black Sunday

before it flew a turmoil
there were birds of every kind
jackrabbits and coyotes
all running for their lives
it was just like in the Bible
Mama cried the World is ending
I was first to reach the car
but the static knocked me down
I could hear the duster rumble
as Daddy pulled me from the ground
we no sooner got the windows rolled up
than the sky descended
And we sat there in the dark in the middle
of Black Sunday

my brothers took the flashlight
said they’d try and get us home
we crept along as they marked out
the edges of the road
lord how could they see?
how did they keep from choking?
it was three or four more hours
but we found our way to town
them boys you wouldn’t know them
with their faces all worn down
we still had each other
but something had been broken
No we never were the same after
Black Sunday

Original Cast featuring Steve Coffee

With Chuck Haskins on fiddle.

11. Gone Went and Done It, Part 2

The troubadour returns with a scolding

...and the benefit of hindsight

There was big black blizzards making midnight at noon
grazing land turned into rolling desert dunes
we thought it was our end, we thought it was our doom
just like Woody said and he was there
just like Woody said

you can blame it on nature you can blame it on god
you can blame it on the farmer for busting out the sod
you can blame it on the banker for betting on the odds
but you gone went and done it yes you did, all yall
you gone went and done it yes you did
all y’all                   all y’all
you gone went and done it yes you did

That’s the durndest thing about history
you can’t undo and you can’t delete
if you don’t pay attention you’re bound to repeat
look out there you go again, there you go
look out there you go again
There you go     There you go
look out there you go again

Timothy White

12. Show You the Rain

Stephen R Coffee and Jeffrey T. Smith

Geoengineering on the plains

Another timeless theme. Wherever there is drought, there are entrepreneurs ready to deploy the latest technology. 

V1
What’s wrong with everybody in this place?
Hey bartender, why the long face?
Y’all must have been visionary to settle ’round here
It takes guts to go against the grain

V2
This town has good prospect, good circulation
A fine latitude and pleasing elevation
God fearing white people that ain’t superstitious
Only one thing that you lack, don’t think I need to explain

Ch1
We need the rain --I know you do
We need the rain --And not just any ol’ rain will do
You need a long slow soaker last three or four days
It must have been providence sent me your way

V3
Folks I’m a living breathing doctor of weatherology
You shoulda seen them people up in Kankakee
When I pointed my moisture accelerator up to the sky
The clouds burst open and everyone was cheering

V4
I got a secret formula sodium chloride
Wrapped up with silicon dioxide
Step back son, this is sensitive equipment
Some call it magic, I call it engineering

Ch2
We need the rain -- I need some money
We need the rain -- time to wash out the gullies
We’re gonna turn this god forsaken place into the land of milk and honey
Show me the money -- I’ll show you the rain

Bridge
I found a half dollar in the cookie jar
Better go back and look under the bed
Hey mister I got a gold tooth
Don’t do me no good while it’s in your head

V5
Settin’ up my apparatus it will take all night
I need a unobstructed shot at the western sky
Don’t be alarmed when you hear the explosions
Just keep your eyes… on your weather vane

Segue
I’ll just be taking my wagon up over the hill…
Yall can stay here…

Ch3
Show me the rain -- Show me the money
Show me the rain -- Did I say something funny
We’re gonna turn this god forsaken place into the land of milk and honey
Show me the money -- I’ll show you the rain

Jeffrey T. Smith

Jeff Smith arranged and performed. Help from the ensemble on backing vocals.

13. Duster #99

Holding on through years of siege

One imagines that for people steeped in old time religion, after being severely tested by nature/fate/God year after year, the story of Job would have been on their minds. Job offers no comfort, however. And when you’re down in a hole, and all you know how to do is dig, you just keep digging.

six people in a dugout shuffling their feet
four days without sun or air fit to breathe
two windows covered over with boards and sheets
ain’t nobody talking ‘bout the winter wheat
come on rain, blast it all
just like me, you’re bound to fall

mailman said it got to ten below
ain’t no more taters and the lard’s getting low
the dust blows around in drifts like snow
dig a path to the outhouse every time you gotta go
Come on wind we’re going toe to toe
you can be Jehovah, I’ll be Job

Here I am shaking my fist at the sky
tears welling up making mud in my eyes
naked are we born and so shall we die

There’s six people coughing, some’s coughing blood
one milk cow she ain’t doing any good
horses so hungry they’re chewing on wood
oughtta put em down if I thought I could
come on dirt why don’t you settle down
if you’d stop moving, I could start plowing

Original Cast featuring Steve Coffee

Marcy on viola, Steve on everything else.

14. Walking to California

Stephen R Coffee and Kevin Dudley

It's just up around the bend

Yes, people left. They went west, south, east, back where they came from. In reality, most stayed or didn’t get very far. Typically, by the time things got that desperate, people would have no money for gas, and quite likely no reliable transportation.

A famer with no land, is like gasoline without a car
A famer with no land, is like gasoline without a car
I’m Walking to California, it can’t be all that far

Hey there neighbor, brother can you spare a dime
I said hey neighbor neighbor, brother can you spare a dime
I’m Walking to California, I can pay you back on time

won’t no one help a drifter, lordy I ain’t got a friend
won’t no one help a drifter, you know I ain’t got a friend
I’m Walking to California, it’s just up around the bend

got that old dust pneumonia, I’m in need of repairs
got that old dust pneumonia, I’m in need of repairs
I’m Walking to California, I’ll feel so much better when I get there

if a man ain’t gonna farm, I guess he don’t need no truck
if a man ain’t gonna farm, I don’t reckon he needs no truck
I’m Walking to California, if you’re staying here, good luck

 

Kevin Dudley

15. Mary Can't Come Out to Play

Stephen R Coffee and James W Johnson

Exodus as Nursery Rhyme

The children grew up in a bleak world. Part of their reality was the frequent disappearance of people they knew. Families were bailing out. Thousands of people died of “dust pneumonia,” especially the old and the young. Here we imagine a classically macabre nursery rhyme reflecting the child's perspective.

Morning glory, blazing star
how I wonder where you are
Clover, sorrel, Penstemon
where have all the flowers gone

Mary can’t come out to play
She’s Gone to Californiay
Empty chair at school today
Mary’s up and blown away

Black eyed Susan, indigo
Where did all the children go
Little Tommy went to sea
sailing on a tumbleweed

Mary can’t come out to play
She’s Gone to Californiay
Empty chair at school today
Mary’s up and blown away

Indian Blanket, goldenrod
Billy built a house of sod
Watered it and watched it grow
Thought it was the Alamo

Mary can’t come out to play
She’s Gone to Californiay
Empty chair at school today
Mary’s up and blown away

Jim Johnson

16. Can It Be

Stephen R Coffee and Mercedes Mill

Lamentations

It falls to Ruth to express the depths of despair and remorse in this, the emotional nadir of the album. She struggles to suspend belief, to question whether people could really have wrought such a terrible circumstance, but she knows there is no way to deny or escape, and we can’t escape her desperation.

It’s a brown world, one that used to be so green
on the buildings and the fields no color to be seen
and it’s quiet, no birds or buzzing bees
Oh sister, can it be?

We surrendered to the shimmering sky
now we watch the horizon from the corner of our eye
lest it pounce… and take us by surprise
the sky, the sky, the sky

Dear sister, I can barely remember
what it was like, we were young and running free
but now I’m tired, tired to the bone
like there’s nothing left in me
can it be ? can it be?

The source of all things, the soil it was so deep
but we milked it so dry, and so shall we reap
now it stalks us, watches as we sleep
the soil, mmmmm

When the wind wears down the tombstones
who’ll remember our names?
when the dust buries the graveyard
there’ll be no one to bear the blame

the children they don’t know to complain
they’re grateful for whatever’s on their plate
but they’re scrawny and listless and small for their age
the children, ohh

the cattle, well we’re eating their feed
we’re counting the chickens and canning tumbleweeds
who gets the milk, the baby or me?
the baby or me?

Can this be what the hand of man hath wrought
did we sell our souls and this is what we bought
or are we the people god chose and then forgot
can it be? can it be? can it be?

it’s a brown world, one that used to be so green
on the faces and the fields no color to be seen
and it’s quiet, just the wind to haunt our dreams
can it be? can it be? can it be?

The Glimpses

Mercedes Mill vocal, Matthew Leonard, guitar, Katie Chambers, cello. Steve Coffee. backing vocals and percussion. Ron Goad and Tom Bodine, backing vocals

17. Sunny Side of the Ground

Stephen R Coffee and Timothy White

A New Deal

FDR steps in in an eleventh hour Deus ex Machina scene. There were indeed smart people in government who understood what was going on, and there were worthwhile social and agricultural experiments. Most of it, like the rains, came too late for most, but welfare and work programs like the WPA kept many alive.

The sun beats down on a working man
ain’t no rest to be found
the only shade is underneath your
boots and it follows you around

Song says keep to the sunny side
that’s the only way I know
I’d rather be working out in the heat than
Laying ‘round six feet  below, so I’m

Chorus:
Swinging a shovel in the CCC
In the WPA
Until FDR runs out of ABCs
I think we’ll make it through another day
one more day on the sunny side
of the ground

Them that call it a handout
ain’t seen the wolf at the door
ain’t had to listen to their babies cry
when there ain’t no more

building roads dams and bridges
a far cry from farming, but it’s work
I’m still out here scratching out a living on the face
of this old earth

Timothy White

18. Blessed Are the Dead That the Rain Falls On

A gospel finale

The rains did come, about the time WWII charged up the economy, but a desert had been created in the heart of the nation, and a hole in the hearts of tens of thousands of people. Time to bury the dead and move on. The only culturally appropriate finale is a gospel song, but one suspects that those praising the Lord must have had some conflicting emotions.

Blessed are the dead that the rain falls on
the row they hoed was dry as it was long
now the clouds have shed their blood
and the furrows run with mud
just as our loved ones have passed on

Blessed are the ones of humble birth
Are not we all inherited by the earth
maybe they are not so meek
when the turn the other cheek
By their deeds you’ll know their hearts, their worth

(Chorus)
Mercy, lord have mercy
how much farther can we fall
gonna hold on to that gospel plow
if we have to crawl
lord have mercy on us all

Blessed are the ones who till the fields
before our daily bread, do they kneel
they dig deep into the sand
searching for that promised land
the earth hears prayers but rarely does it yield

Forgive us lord, we know not what we do
though you made us smart enough that we ought to
we could bite every apple on your tree
but the knowledge won’t set us free
unless we’re ready to taste the truth

Original Cast featuring Caroline Ferrante.