Where Have All the Flowers Gone

We’ve all heard the song written by the recently departed Pete Seeger. With every wistful verse the song depicts the cycle of life, wars and death, ending in…

When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Evolving from young girls picking all the flowers to the abrupt ending of graveyards, Seeger invokes an intense imagery of the fruits of war, resulting in the, almost regenerative, appearance of flowers.

The song has a resignation to it, evoking the feeling that humankind has not the consciousness to break the cycle of flowers to graveyards.

This is an example of the poignant impact that great folk songs can illuminate. It speaks of the great human dilemma. The great prophets, from Moses, Krishna, Muhammad, and Christ to Gandhi, have illumined the way to transcend war and violent conflict. Yet, wars are still being fought in the names of these very sages.

We live in a non-spiritual world, where power struggles trump peaceful existence. Pete Seeger fought for social justice in a non-violent way, and his song remains a plaintive reflection of the state of humanity.

When will we ever learn?

One thought on “Where Have All the Flowers Gone

  1. Remembering that song invokes such a sad feeling in me. I sang it during the Vietnam war era and there is such a feeling of hopelessness it brings. When will we ever learn????

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