Call him drunken ira hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinkin' indian
Not the marine who went to war

Gather 'round me people
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
Who farmed the phoenix valley
In arizona land

Down their ditches for a thousand years
The waters grew ira's people's crops
Till the white man stole their water rights
And their sparklin' water stopped
Now ira's folks grew hungry
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came ira volunteered
And forgot the white man's greed

Call him drunken ira hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinkin' indian
Not the marine who went to war

Well, they battle up iwo jima hill
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty seven lived
To walk back down again
When the fight was over
And old glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was indian ira hayes

Call him drunken ira hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinkin' indian
Not the marine who went to war

Ira hayes returned a hero
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 had done
And when do the indians dance?

Call him drunken ira hayes
He won't answer any more;
Not the whiskey drinkin' indian
Not the marine who went to war

Then ira started drinkin' hard
Jail was often his home
They let him raise the flag and lower it
As you would 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 the grave for ira hayes

Call him drunken ira hayes
He won't answer any more
Not the whiskey drinkin' indian
Not the marine who went to war

Yeah! call him drunken ira hayes
But his land is just as dry
And the ghost is lying thirsty
In the ditch where ira died


Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by sokorny

"The Ballad of Ira Hayes" as written by Peter Lafarge

Lyrics © CARLIN AMERICA INC

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The Ballad of Ira Hayes (Peter La Farge cover) song meanings
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