The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Fiddle and Drum

with 4 comments

Joni MitchellLori and I were high school kids in the late ’60s during the Vietnam War. We were musicians (we met in the high school band), and I played just enough guitar to attempt an occasional coffee house gig.

One of the songs of those times has been ringing in my ears lately. It was sung simply, without any accompaniment (which meant I didn’t have to lean on my primitive guitar skills), and I think I remember more clearly what it felt like to sing it than I can remember the feelings left by any other song. I felt then the helplessness that I sometimes feel now: people suffer at war, everybody wants it to quit, but, relentlessly, it lumbers on – as if opposing us all.

Perhaps it was a part of why I came to see myself as a follower of Jesus Christ (though somewhat at odds with what many term “a Christian”), and later, a pastor.

Joni Mitchell wrote The Fiddle and the Drum.

And so once again –
My dear Johnny my dear friend –
And so once again you are fighting us all.
And when I ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry, and I fall.
Oh, my friend –
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum?

You say I have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned,
But I can remember
All the good things you are.
And so I ask you please –
Can I help you find the peace and the star?
Oh, my friend –
What time is this
To trade the handshake for the fist?

And so once again –
Oh, America, my friend –
And so once again
You are fighting us all.
And when we ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry, and we fall.
Oh, my friend –
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum?

You say we have turned –
Like the enemies you’ve earned –
But we can remember
All the good things you are.
And so we ask you please
Can we help you find the peace and the star?
Oh my friend –
We have all come
To fear the beating of your drum.

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Written by Monte

February 26, 2007 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Iraq

4 Responses

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  1. Omnipotence is one of those concepts, like perfection, that has no existence in reality.

    There is always reason to resist.

    honestpoet

    March 29, 2007 at 2:51 pm

  2. Now that is encouraging – thank you for seeing it. Perhaps the imperial war machine is not omnipotent. This makes me want to keep trying.

    Monte

    March 29, 2007 at 11:54 am

  3. The Iraq war marked the first time in history, though, that people managed to protest before it even began.

    Maybe next time we’ll even be able to stop it (certainly it looks like we might be doing that vis a vis Iran).

    honestpoet

    March 29, 2007 at 10:34 am

  4. Monte, those words ring as true today as they they did way back when.

    Sad, isn’t it?

    Nice post though.

    Art

    February 27, 2007 at 1:29 am


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