The Fiddle in the Field and the Drum of War

The great Canadian singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell wrote a powerful song in 1969 when she was 26 years old called The Fiddle and the Drum. Joni wrote the song as a concerned friend of the United States and now, nearly forty years later, her words still ring and sting with a righteous vengeance as exampled in this pointed excerpt:

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

The magic of Mitchell’s music is how it can bend time and force remembrance.
And so once again we are all transfixed as she pulls the lessons of 1969 forward under our noses in 2006.
And so once again we are all left wondering how we came to give up our love of the sound of the fiddle after harvest in exchange for the booming drum of war beating across nations far from our fields at home.