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Get Active, for Pete’s Sake (2011)
(a poem for Pete Seeger)

By Gar Smith
Tuesday January 28, 2014 - 11:03:00 AM


If you’re humming in your hammock on a sunny summer day

And you hear some gears a-groaning on a hill across the way,

It just might be a feller-buncher tearing down some trees

So grab a rope and climb a limb and tell the loggers: “Freeze!”


Don’t lie there like a log, my friend, and tell the world to “Screw it!”

You want a pot of java, Joe? You’ve simply gotta brew it.

A better world is waiting ‘round the bend, so hasten to it.

A boat is just afloat unless there’s someone there to crew it.

Hope is like a libr’ry card — you need to go renew it.

There’s really nothing to it.

For Pete’s Sake, do it!


If you’re punching clocks and buying stocks and diving into debt,

Just take a break and shake a leg and make yourself a bet,

To see what you can fix around the house, the yard, or block

Between the crack of dawn and up to midnight, twelve o-clock.


Don’t give up and grumble how now “Everything is fake.”

Give back a little heck for every nasty knock you take.

Push ahead and raise some dust with every step you make.

Don’t bitch and moan, go skip a stone — across the whole darn lake.

Head out for the open road and never hit the brake,

Pursue the wild and sing your song and dance — for old Pete’s sake!


If you’re walking down the sidewalk and you spot a chap in trouble

Don’t steer your feet across the street and head home on the double

Assert yourself, insert yourself, step forth and take as stand

Demand what’s right and join the fight for justice, life and land.


If you’re feeling kind of hungry in the middle of the day

Avoid that fast-food burger hut and walk the other way.

Your backyard garden’s just the place to score a tasty snack

Those seeds you planted back in April now are paying back.


Too many have too little and too few have got a lot.

Ten million souls in prison have been tossed aside to rot.

Our land is of the free, they say, our home is of the brave.

But if you’re poor, you’re shown the door and treated like a slave.


The masters of the world rely on owning every word.

In pulpit, print and politics, it’s money that is heard

Explaining what is real and good and what is right and wrong.

But all these lies will wither in the torchlight of a song.



The sun will rise, the sun will set, as dusk returns to dawn.

The years will roll, the bells will toll, those coming will be gone.

The ax will lift, the ax will fall, the forests fall and rise.

The tides return in endless reach beneath the starlit skies.

We mark our days in pain and praise — a game of give and take.

And with the wind, we’ll kiss the ground and smile — for old Pete’s sake. 


CNN's Tribute to Pete Seeger  

Pete Seeger Sings "Bring 'em Home"