Lyrically Evocative (27)

I had a brief flirtation with Folk Music in my teens. Bob Dylan, Donovan, and some British Folk Groups like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span.

Few of those songs stayed with me, and I rarely listen to any now.

But this song by Buffy Sainte-Marie (Covered by Donovan in the UK) is one that still has meaning to this day, and probably always will,

Here are the lyrics.

The Universal Soldier
Buffy Sainte-Marie

He’s five-foot-two and he’s six-feet-four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He’s all of thirty-one and he’s only seventeen
He’s been a soldier for a thousand years
He’s a catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jane
A Buddhist and a Baptist and Jew
And he knows he shouldn’t kill
And he knows he always will kill
You’ll for me my friend and me for you
And he’s fighting for Canada, he’s fighting for France
He’s fighting for the USA
And he’s fighting for the Russians and he’s fighting for Japan
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way
And he’s fighting for democracy, he’s fighting for the reds
He says it’s for the peace of all
He’s the one who must decide who’s to live and who’s to die
And he never sees the writing on the wall
But without him how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would’ve stood alone
He’s the one who gives his body as the weapon of the war
And without him, all this killing can’t go on
He’s the universal soldier and he really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him and you and me
And brothers, can’t you see
This is not the way we put an end to war?

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Buffy Sainte-Marie
The Universal Soldier lyrics Β© Peermusic Publishing

Here is Buffy singing the song in concert.
(There is a very short interview first)

31 thoughts on “Lyrically Evocative (27)

  1. Her voice has the Donovan method in its delivery . Donovan was really a poet rather than a singer and I suppose it is what a lot of modern pop is about . The problem for me is they rap so fast I can’t follow the words.
    At a risk of being jumped on I must I disagree with the last four lines. It throws the blame on the ordinary soldier and exonerates the politicians and government leaders.
    One other point, it is my belief that humans have the killer instinct in their evolutionary genetics it enabled us to survive and tribe fought with tribe.
    ‘There’s was not to question why
    There’s was just to do or die
    Into the valley of death rode the six hundred’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, FM. As for the last four lines, you will have to take that up with Buffy. πŸ™‚
      And the Light Brigade? All volunteers of course, and many conflicting opinions about why the charge happened. Likely the vanity and inexperience of one excitable junior officer.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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