If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning,
I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land.
I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out warning,
I’d hammer out the love between my brother and my sister
All over this land.
A protest song originally sung by Pete Seeger in 1949, which only really became popular when sung by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962. The second verse spoke of a bell which would be rung and the third verse of a song which could be sung. It was always the finale of the song which mentions :
“It’s the hammer of justice
Its the bell of freedom
Its the song about the love between my brother and my sister all over this land”
I never really understood the song until many years later but I certainly remember many of my school friends singing or humming the rather catchy tune around the playground. The 60’s seemed very much to be a period of protest as well as the time of hippies and universal love. I remember the news being filled with films of young students protesting about something or other. I also remember older folk saying they didn’t understand the ‘young uns’, but hasn’t that always been the case between young and old?
Over the millennia humanity has struggled with the dilemma of succeeding generations trying to understand each other. Sometimes there is greater understanding between the very old and the very young, is this because as we truly age we develop a more mature wisdom? The cynic would say as we truly get very old we become childlike again and that is why we get on better. Whatever the reason maybe there is something to look forward to, I know there will always be exceptions to the norm. How many older readers have happy memories of sitting on grandparents laps, listening to stories or just hearing their heart beat?
The Old Testament says in one version “regard the hoary head” in other words honour the older generation. In some cultures the elder generations were recognised as being ‘wise’, they were the ones who could advise when things began to go “pear shaped”. Just stop and think about yourself for a moment, how different are you from 10/20/20/40/50/60 years+ ago? How differently would you handle things now? See that’s wisdom for you!
John Pugh (Rev) Wymeswold Methodist