“You just have to have been there,” I wrote on Facebook “when this song was created. This and the other songs that came out of that era were the heart and soul of our generation. A turning point for America. The age of questioning why. Where have all the Flowers Gone? Turn, Turn Turn, All the Dylan pieces, Joan Baez, The Vietnam War, the draft. Kent U. The San Francisco movement. Beads and bells and flowers and all of a sudden the youth were gathering together when they never gathered together before. Sure there were stoners ,but there were nature people too giving up their comforts to go live out on the land and learn something new, to farm or raise a few goats or be a migrant worker. There was a lot of pain happening back then. Pain and change.”
We were all emotionally affected by Vietnam. Kids from all the high schools everywhere got drafted right after graduation and sent to engage in a horrible “police action”. Young people were scared, angry. They wanted a voice. They hated the war and unfortunately some people blamed the guys coming back home. A war that shamed America so much so Vets were forgotten as if the country decided to sweep them under the carpet and pretend Nam never happened.
But the artists, the musicians, the poets, they knew. They saw not just our generation but generations throughout history suffer the same wicked trials. They cried out back then. Those songs were all about the same thing. They were about war.
No one heard.
Someone should have listened. Someone should have changed things by now. America’s spirit was broken in the 60s. No longer was it untouchable, a super power that won all wars and always came out on top.
Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone Narrow streets of cobblestone ‘Neath the halo of a street lamp I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed By the flash of a neon light That split the night And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw Ten thousand people, maybe more People talking without speaking People hearing without listening
People writing songs That voices never share And no one dare Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools, ” said I, “you do not know Silence like a cancer grows Hear my words that I might teach you Take my arms that I might reach you.” But my words like silent raindrops fell And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed To the neon God they made And the sign flashed out its warning And the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets Are written on the subway walls And tenement halls.” And whispered in the sound of silence