Where have all the flowers gone*

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?

Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young girls gone?

Gone to young men everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone, long time passing?
Where have all the young men gone, long time ago?
Where have all the young men gone?

Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the soldiers gone?

Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
Where have all the graveyards gone?

Gone to flowers, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?

Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

On February 24, 2022, R*ssia invaded Ukraine, a much smaller country no-one had really ever heard much about.

A year later, the Ukrainians are still fighting. With bravery.

Slava Ukrainy. (Glory to Ukraine. Bernard-Henry Lévy just released a movie on the war with that title.)

*In 1955, sixty-eight years ago, Pete Seeger wrote this song: “Where have all the flowers gone?”. He was inspired by an old Cossack song; ironically but not exclusively, there are many Cossacks in Ukraine.

Dozens of artists have sung the song in their own way. Marlene Dietrich! Johnny Rivers! Imagine Johnny Rivers! Dalida sang it. Dusty Springfield. Dozens. Joan Baez sang the German version, with a slightly different wording:

“Sagt mir

“Wo die blumen sind?”

Personally I like the Peter, Paul & Mary version best. It’s the one I used for the text. Here’s their version. Feel free to add your preferred “cover”…

Maybe we shall learn. Some day.

Free 🇺🇦

121 thoughts on “Where have all the flowers gone*

  1. When will we learn? True today as when he wrote it. My mom and I went to a PPM concert together 20 years ago and sang this song. Posted about Tikal last Thursday. Please check it out. Una cosita: 2022? 😉

  2. Beautiful flowers, Brieuc! Love that you put one between each verse.
    May I ask why you put an asterisk when typing Russia? Is there some special meaning?

    • Thank you Dale. I’d been wanting to “do” flowers for a while to send to you guys in the North, to brighten up the snow. I also wanted to something with “Where have all the flowers gone”. D’une pierre deux coups… 😉
      L’astérisque? J’écris Tr*mp. R*ssia. P*tin. Pour ce dernier, l’expression de “fi de p.” conviendrait très bien… Haha! La principale raison: échapper aux “bots”. Aux moteurs de recherche automatiques. Je n’ai pas envie de discuter avec un supporter de Tr*mp, ou de P*tin. J’ai passé l’âge d’argumenter. Surtout avec les imbéciles… lesquels comme chacun sait sont légion…

      • Oui, oui… two birds, one stone – Success

        Ahhhh… je comprends. Smart. Ça fait plusieurs fois je voulais te le demander! Voilà. Je comprends!

      • Je me demandais quand quelqu’un allait me demander… Haha. You get the prize. MInd you I write Biden. He’s got my respect. I tend to write M*cron… LOL…
        Zibous… (En Verlan)

      • Ding! Ding! Ding! Je gagne quoi? He’s an old fart who finally go the top spot and does his best.
        Zibous – me fait penser à la chaîne de restos Zibo que nous avons dans le coin!

      • Tu gagnes quoi? Toute mon affection chère amie… (Les budgets ont été coupés… haha!)
        Zibo? On y mange bien?
        Quand à l’autre “empaffé” (pardon my French) I can’t believe he’s still trying. He is a menace.
        Grosse bises.
        (Toujours au “Chômdu”? Ou tu cherches autre chose?)

      • Je crois que ce prix me va à la merveille!
        C’est bon. Une cuisine dite californienne.
        Empaffé! I love it!! He is a waste of space on this Earth.
        Grosses bises.
        Et oui. J’avoue ne pas chercher fort-fort. Je ne me vois pas travailler à plein-temps (à moins de le faire chez moi) en torchant et faisant la bouffe et tout le tralala que je dois faire pour aider ma fille à récupérer. J’en ai pour un bon trois semaines.

      • “Empaffé”: comme disait Pierre Dac: “La récolte de cons est chaque année plus abondante…” MDR
        Tu peux travailler on-line dans ton genre de boulot?
        Torcher? Récupérer? Ta fille? Un bb?

      • Love it. Oh que oui, la récolte est de plus en plus abondante.
        Je pourrais, j’imagine.
        Même à 23 ans, elle demeure mon bébé 😉 Ma fille a été opérée – transition to a woman with bottom surgery.

      • Oui. La récupération va prendre du temps. Je l’aime ma fille… Elle n’a pas les mes idées que moi pour la récup. mais que veux-tu? She’s still very childish at 23. We are SO different at that age.

    • Yes. When will they ever learn?
      ‘Nam was a tragedy.
      And we’re headed into another. Sadly. (Which is why I support the Ukrainians. They’re brave, and really fighting on behalf of all Western Europe… 👏🏻)
      Thank YOU. 🌹

      • We have a way of getting bogged down in wars. NATO is our best Kobe if defense any rogue nations. The Republicans would have us exit NATO, Trump was already leaning in that direction as a minion of Putin.

  3. I’m afraid we are the kind that will never learn, Brian. A cool post, with wonderful flowers ironically soothing the eye. I hadn’t heard the Peter, Paul and Mary version of this song before and I realy like it. (sing alongs always weakens my heart). When being on Youtube I ventured into the Marlene Dietrich version as well, and that one is truly great too. Her voice is manufactured out of sorrow. These lines: Sag, wo die Soldaten sind/ Über Gräbern weht der Wind… Tot ziens.

    • Dag Peter. Yes singalongs get to my heart too. Such a powerful song. Universal.
      My German is a bit limited, but “Wo die Soldaten sind” means “where are the soldiers”, if I’m not mistaken. Gräbern? Graves? something with the wind? I need to find the German Lyrics, and the Dietrich version…
      Au revoir…

      • Your German isn’t bad at all. It means: Say, where are the soldiers/over the graves blows the wind. German is such a wonderful language for poetry and songs. Do look Marlene Dietrich up. There is a live version of the song on Youtube. Au revoir Brian.

      • I lack a lot of vocabulary in German. Only took very occasional classes here and there. Usually try to use English/Dutch (rudimentary too) to “guess” some of the words… So to blow is Blasen? I imagine the conjugation is complicated. 😉
        I did find the Dietrich Unicef concert. Amazing. What a woman. Spoke perfect French and English. And the song clearly raked her inside. I also loved how she bowed to the public. Old school.
        Viel dank für der Eid. (das?). Dankje wel…

      • And yes, German is a very poetic language. A few times, I read German poetry with an English version at the side to find my way around. Unique.

    • We do learn. For a while. Once the war is over. It lasts for a while, then the memory fades and we go at it again…
      Thank you for the Dietrich tip. I just listened to it. She did speak perfect English and French… Here’s her German version. She actually gives the three versions. The German text is very powerful. One must remember she sang that in 1962. Don’t know where. her emotion is quite visible:

    • It is a wonderful song. Despite its sadness. Maybe one day we shall understand. Pete Seeger – such a talented man – once wrote another powerful song: “We shall overcome”. One day.
      All well Arlene? Your ear? better? 🙏🏻

  4. That was such a hit when I was little. Even my conservative, pro-Vietnam War grandmother loved it. There was once a tape recording that she made of me singing it using her reel-to-reel tape recorder.

    • Thank you Derrick. Pete Seeger, and PPM did all the work, I just put a coupla flowers in the middle. I think we mentioned that before, about all the young girls, barely married or even just engaged in WWI who never (re) married. I didn’t remember Jackie was tending to the “old ones”. Hopping to your post right now.

    • Thank you. The flowers were really ment for our friends who live “Up North” in the US and Canada, still burdened with snow. But I had this beautiful song by Pete Seeger I wanted to do something about… Two birds with one stone.
      Hope all is well, Paul?

      • Autumn. One forgets… How it is the other way round. Though here, in Lat Am, We have Brazil and Argentina “Upside down” too.
        “Les sanglots longs des violons de l’automne
        “Bercent mon coeur d’une langueur monotone…”
        You may have heard those verses.
        Cheers “Mate.”

  5. A beautiful song and so eternally relevant. But, will we ever learn?

    I don’t think that Cossacks ever considered themselves Russian. They started as groups of serfs from Russia, Ukraine and Poland, who banded together as “Free warriors”. Later on they had their own villages and their own armies.

    • Universal and eternal. Sadly. I agree with you about Cossacks. I might have read Cholokov’s “Le Don paisible” centuries ago, but I don’t remember enough… Actually I might still have it… Lemme check.

    • No I don’t. Damn. I might have donated it to the French Lycée. LOL.
      While I’m at it, I’ve included Marlene Dietrich’s version in German. Just beautiful. The German lyrics are great. You might want to hear it. If you scroll (up or down) in the comments, I’ve put it in a reply to Peter Grey…
      let me know what you think.

      • I’m sure you did. I didn’t. It was amazing. And so is the translation. yes, close, but only with subtle differences. Wo die Blumen sind. Where the flowers are… It sounds right…
        (Not all translations to European languages are that good as we know…) (Except maybe for Frédéric-Reynhardt Mey. I imagine he did his own translation)

      • I am sure Mey did, he was completely bilingual., was he not? I only know one of his songs in both languages, “Gute Nacht Freunde”, “Bonne nuit mes amis”.
        Good night

      • He’s still alive and kicking. Thank God. Just turned 80. he had so many wonderful songs. I still have the LP. Au-dessus des nuages… Voilà les musiciens. Les lumières se sont éteintes… (Toutes les fêtes ont une fin… All parties come to an end…)
        Gutte nacht.

    • I know, I know. But one tries. My two daughters went marching yesterday for women’s day. Lots of issues on violence. Millions of women probably marched. Will things change? Probably not. But they marched…
      You too.

      • It’s been a long time since serious things/issues stopped changing upon the will of The People. Nobody “up there” cares about The People. It’s all about money and power. So why waste time, energy and brain cells performing actions that don’t bring ANYTHING good but potentially some BAD things.

        War is good for culling the population, for bumping the economy etc. Not my line of thinking – “theirs”. Mean, stupid and misguided people will always go to war without knowing the slightest about the implications. It’s those people that when “the boss” says “jump!” they instantly say “how high?” You can’t fix stupid and definitely can’t overcome mean. So what’s left to do…? C’est la fuckin’ vie. 😦

      • It’s a bit of pressure to pot every Sunday and I’ve never missed one for years. Think I mentioned when returning to Oz for 6 weeks in 2020 (but got stranded due to COVID lockdowns), I had 12 weeks of posts scheduled. I was even impressed with myself but haven’t been able to do this on this occasion due to working full time but also packing up our house in storage.
        Osaka is cool in the evenings and warmish during the day. So many people!

      • I remember you had many posts in advance which led me to copy you… I’ve had up to 6 post in advance… Never 12! Down to 3 now, need to re-supply the “larder”.

  6. This is a beautiful song which I did not know. I love your flower pictures, especially the one covered in rain drops that appears to be weeping. It is beyond me why humanity never learns that wars and violence solve no problems. I have read my war books and war memoirs searching for answers to this, but I have never found any.

    • It’s a bit of an old song now. But, as many Pete Seeger’s songs, it still is perfectly valid.
      Books? Memoirs? I believe it has to do with memory and Hannah Arendt. After each war (see my post “never again”) the survivors say: “enough! We can’t do this again.” and it works for a while. Then new generations are born, and as Arendt says, each newborn human being has to reinvent the world. (There is no genetic transmission of memory). And another dictator arises, and thinks he will get away with it… Until he is brought to his knees, and everybody says “never again”. And new young girls pick new flowers… 💐

  7. Au risque de paraître pessimiste, je crois que nous n’apprendrons jamais…
    De bien belles fleurs pour une belle chanson. (que je découvre)
    Bonne journée Brieuc

    • Je le crains aussi…
      Ça m’ennuie pour les gniards… Eux sont encore petits…
      Les fleurs? La plupart du jardin. La chanson? Un chef-d’oeuvre de Pete Seeger. Il en a fait bien d’autres. Beaucoup de ses chansons ont été reprises par Dylan et Joan Baez entre autres.
      “We shall overcome” est de lui.
      Bonne nuit.
      Biz back.

  8. That song takes me back. I’ll pick Dylan’s version I think. Your flowers are all beautiful (I see you too have some hibiscus) and together with the words this is a perfect expression of support for Ukraine. It’s a country I’ve actually visited twice and where I have a friend – or should say had, as he is currently safe in Poland with another mutual friend, thankfully.

    • Yes we do have hibiscus on the garden. different colours actually. I probably heard Dylan’s version before. I’m sure it’s good. I just like the unique voice combination of Peter Paul & Mary…
      Ukraine now? You have been around… 😉
      I’m glad your friend is safe…
      (Free 🇺🇦)

  9. Beautiful lyrics and beautiful photographs. Really touched my heart, Brian. Ukraine has the fight in it and that is commendable. The world is definitely a different place for every person. Hope you’re well and writing with vigor. 🙂

    • Yes. Different places. One thing is often the common trait: abuse of power…
      Not writing enough… I wish I could squeeze more hours in a day. 😉
      Have a lovely week Terveen.

  10. great way to weave that song in the post and end with that video
    – and the flowers were so varied!
    some felt like professional photo shoots and others seemed raw and gritty like we
    were walking with you and could see these right along the path.

    • He did. The more I rediscover his work, the more amazed I am. And he seemed so… non-egocentric. Glad and proud other singers took his songs up. (Of course royalties surely kept coming in, but still)
      He was a master. We need more of those. Like yesterday…

  11. This is a powerful reminder of the human cost of war and conflict, and how it affects people from all walks of life. It’s heartening to see the connection between the song and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

    Let us hope that we can learn from the past and work towards a more peaceful future.

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