Oughta Be a Woman (June Jordan and Bernice Johnson Reagon)

“Oughta Be a Woman” Sheet Music (pdf).
“Oughta Be a Woman” Karaoke (midi with lyrics).

Lyrics: June Jordan.
Tune: Bernice Johnson Reagon.


Washing the floors to send you to college,
Staying at home so you can feel safe.
What do you think is the soul of her knowledge?
What do you think that makes her feel safe?

Biting her lips and lowering her eyes
To make sure there’s food on the table.
What do you think would be her surprise
If the world was as willing as she is able?

Hugging herself in an old kitchen chair,
She listens to your hurt and your rage.
What do you think she knows of despair?
What do you think is the aching of age?

The fathers, the children, the brothers
Turn to her, and everybody white
Turns to her. What about her turning around
Alone in the every day light?

There oughta be a woman can break down,
Sit down, break down, sit down.
Like everybody else, call it quits on Monday,
Blues on Tuesday, sleep until Sunday.
Down, sit down, break down, sit down.
A way out of no way
Is flesh out of flesh,
Is courage that cries out at night;
A way out of no way
Is flesh out of flesh,
Is bravery kept out of sight.
A way out of no way
Is too much to ask,
Too much of a task,
For any one woman.


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