The Ballad Of Ira Hayes

Lyrics: Peter LaFarge
Music: Peter LaFarge

This was played during the rehearsals with Bob Dylan but never performed live.

Chorus
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinking Indian
Or the Marine that went to war

Gather around me, people (note 1)
There's a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian
You should remember well

From the land of the Pima Indians
A proud and noble band (note 2)
Who farmed the Phoenix Valley
In Arizona land

Down the ditches for a thousand years
The waters grew Ira's people's crops
Till the white man stole their water rights
And the sparkling water stopped

Now, Ira's folks were hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man's greed

[Chorus]

There they battled up Iwo Jima hill (note 1)
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived
To walk back down again

And when the fight was over (note 1)
And Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira Hayes

[Chorus]

Ira Hayes returned a hero (note 3)
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored
Everybody shook his hand

But he was just a Pima Indian
No water, no home, no chance
At home, nobody cared what Ira'd done
And when did the Indians dance?

[Chorus]

Then Ira started drinking hard
Jail was often his home
They let him raise the flag and lower it
Like you'd throw a dog a bone

He died drunk, early one morning
Alone in the land he'd fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes

[Chorus]

Notes
(1) Dylan doesn't sing these verse during the rehearsals with the Dead
(2) Dylan sings "A proud and peaceful band"
(3) from here on Dylan sings some sort of amalgam of the remaining verses:
Well Ira returned a hero
He was wined and dined and [rich]
They let him raise the flag and lower down
Like you'd throw a dog a bone

He died drunk, early one morning
In the land he'd fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes