Fire in my mouth

Julia Wolfe
Languages: English, Yiddish, Italian

Related Songs

Ballad Of The Triangle Fire
(Ruth Rubin)


Oratorio per due cori e orchestra commissionato dalla New York Philharmonic.

Testi tratti dal sito ufficiale della New York Philarmonic

Corpi delle vittime nelle bare sul marciapiede
Corpi delle vittime nelle bare sul marciapiede

Racconta la vita e della morte delle cento e passa lavoratrici, alcune immigrate dall’Italia, che perirono nel tristemente noto incendio della fabbrica Triangle di New York, nel marzo 1911.
I. Immigration
(excerpt from an interview with Mollie Wexler, oral history)

Without passports or anything
we took a boat,
a big beautiful boat
and off we went,
five of us girls.
It took about ten days,
we went third class
with the poverty stricken
and off we went,
five of us girls.
But it was lively,
everyone talking
and looking
to God knows what kind of future
it was going to be.

II. Factory
(adapted from the excerpt of a Yiddish folk song)

Mit a nodl, on a nodl
Ney ikh mir b’kovid godl
Zitsn zits ikh mirA fis oyf a fis
Vayl mayn arbetiz tsiker zis

(adapted from the excerpt of an Italian Pizzica folk song)

e com’ aggiu fare ca vulia te vasu pigliate ’na paletta e va allu focu e ca’ pe la mamma dice ca hai ’tardatu dinne ca’ e’ stata 'na spitta te focu e spitta te focu, nun e’ stata mai qualche fijiu te mamma me l’ha vasata

III Protest

Women’s Choir
I want to talk like an American
I want to look like an American
I want to sing like an American
I want to walk like an American
I want to dream like an American
Scheme like an American
I want to stand like an American
I want to smile like an American
I want to pray like an American
Play ball like an American
Cook like an American
I want to laugh like an American
I want to dance like an American
Have a chance like an American
I want to feel like an American
I want to shout like an American
I want to scream like an American
I want to cry like an American
I want to try like an American
Hurt like an American
Bleed like an American
Burn like, burn like, burn like, burn

Girls’ Choir

(excerpt from a speech by Clara Lemlich, November 22, 1909)

I want to say a few words. I am a working girl. One who is striking against intolerable conditions.

We laid down our scissors
shook the threads off our clothes
and calmly left the place that stood between us and starvation.

Women’s Choir

hem stitcher, sleeve setter, cuff maker, lace runner, ironer, yoke setter, plain stitcher, belt maker, finisher, sample hand, back maker, dampener, baster and binder and cleaner and closer and cutter and draper and hemmer and joiner and mender and buttonhole maker and buttonhole marker and buttonhole stitcher and buttonhole sewer

baster, binder, cleaner, closer, cutter, draper, hemmer, joiner, plaiter, trimmer, tucker, facer, sorter

Girls’ Choir

Women’s Choir
(from an interview with Clara Lemlich)

Ah — then I had fire in my mouth

Girls’ Choir
fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire

IV. Fire

Women’s Choir
I heard someone cry fire Everyone said fire

(excerpt adapted from the testimony of Kate Alterman, ninth floor worker, at the Triangle Shirtwaist fire trial)

And then I saw her bending down on her knees. Her hair was loose.
And the trail of her dress was a little far from her. Then a big smoke came.
I noticed the trail of her dress, and the ends of her hair, began to burn like, burn like, burn like, burn like, burn like, burn

(excerpt adapted from the eyewitness account of William Shepherd, reporter for the
Milwaukee Journal, March 27, 1911)

Those of us who were looking, saw her put her arms about him and kiss him.
And then he dropped her into space. Then quick as a flash, he jumped.

All Voices
I see them falling See them falling

Women’s Choir
(excerpt from a speech by Rose Schneiderman at The Metropolitan Opera House, April 2, 1911)

I would be a traitor
to those poor burned bodies if I were to speak
of good fellowship.
I have tried you good people of the public, and I have found you wanting.

(complete list of people who perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire — from The Triangle Fire by Leon Stein)

Lizzie Adler, Anna Altman, Annina Ardito, Rose Bassino, Vincenza Benanti, Yetta Berger, Morris Bernstein, Jacob Bernstein, Essie Bernstein, Gussie Bierman, Vincenza Billota, Abra- ham Binowitz, Rosie Brenman, Sarah Brenman, Ida Brodsky, Sarah Brodsky, Ada Brooks, Laura Brunetti, Josephine Cammarata, Francesca Caputo, Josephine Carlisi, Albina Caruso, Annie Ciminello, Rosina Cirrito, Anna Cohen, Annie Colletti, Sarah Cooper, Michelina Cor- diano, Bessie Dashefsky, Josie Del Castillo, Clara Dockman, Kalman Donick, Celia Eisenberg, Dora Evans, Rebecca Feibisch, Yetta Fichtenholz, Daisy Fitzie, Mary Floresta, Max Florin, Jennie Franco, Rose Friedman, Diana Gerjuoy, Molly Gerstein, Catherine Giannattasio, Celia Gitlin, Esther Goldstein, Lena Goldstein, Mary Goldstein, Yetta Goldstein, Rosie Grasso, Bertha Greb, Rachel Grossman, Mary Herman, Esther Hochfeld, Fannie Hollander, Pauline Horowitz, Ida Jukofsky, Ida Kanowitz, Tessie Kaplan, Beckie Kessler, Jacob Klein, Beckie Kop- pelman, Bertha Kula, Tillie Kupferschmidt, Benjamin Kurtz, Annie L’Abbate, Fannie Lansner, Maria Lauletti, Jennie Lederman, Max Lehrer, Sam Lehrer, Kate Leone, Mary Leventhal, Jen- nie Levin, Pauline Levine, Nettie Liebowitz, Rose Liermark, Bettina Maiale, Frances Maiale, Catherine Maltese, Lucia Maltese, Rosaria Maltese, Maria Manaria, Rose Mankofsky, Rose Mehl, Yetta Meyers, Gaetana Midolo, Annie Miller, Beckie Neubauer, Annie Nicholas, Miche- lina Nicolosei, Sadie Nussbaum, Julia Oberstein, Rose Oringer, Beckie Ostrovsky, Annie Pack, Provindenza Panno, Antonietta Pasqualicchio, Ida Pearl, Jennie Pildescu, Vincenza Pinelli, Emilia Prato, Concetta Prestifilippo, Beckie Reines, Fannie Rosen, Louis Rosen, Israel Rosen, Julia Rosen, Yetta Rosenbaum, Jennie Rosenberg, Gussie Rosenfeld, Nettie Rosenthal, Emma Rothstein, Theodore Rotner, Sarah Sabasowitz, Santina Salemi, Sarafina Saracino, Teresina Saracino, Gussie Schiffman, Theresa Schmidt, Ethel Schneider, Violet Schochet, Golda Schpunt, Margaret Schwartz, Jacob Seltzer, Rosie Shapiro, Ben Sklover, Rose Sorkin, Annie Starr, Jennie Stein, Jennie Stellino, Jennie Stiglitz, Sam Taback, Clotilde Terranova, Isabella Tortorelli, Meyer Utal, Catherine Uzzo, Frieda Velakofsky, Bessie Viviano, Rosie Weiner, Sarah Weintraub, Tessie Weisner, Dora Welfowitz, Bertha Wendorff, Joseph Wilson, Sonia Wisotsky

2019/12/31 - 18:03

Main Page

Please report any error in lyrics or commentaries to

Note for non-Italian users: Sorry, though the interface of this website is translated into English, most commentaries and biographies are in Italian and/or in other languages like French, German, Spanish, Russian etc.

hosted by