Peace Train

Now I’ve been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss
…”

For a few months now, I’ve had the meagre beginnings of a post on British singer-songwriter Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ 1971 song “Peace Train” in my drafts folder. It felt like the right time to complete it now, with all that’s going on around the globe.

Over the past two days, the world has watched in horror and disbelief at the sudden and violent act of war against Ukraine and the swift, brutal arrests of those in Russia demonstrating against the government’s actions. In my previous post this week, I refer to the extreme political and social division and polarity that exists globally. Wednesday’s invasion adds to that sense of worldwide imbalance and precariousness. It is a time when hope is again seriously challenged in a world that’s already weary of effects of the Covid-19 pandemic that range from minor inconveniences to devastating losses.

Yusuf / Stevens’ song is a powerful anthem for unity and harmony. I believe he summed it up best in a statement he made during the Iraq War: “‘Peace Train’ is a song I wrote, the message of which continues to breeze thunderously through the hearts of millions. There is a powerful need for people to feel that gust of hope rise up again. As a member of humanity and as a Muslim, this is my contribution to the call for a peaceful solution.”

It is a beautiful song.

“Now I’ve been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Oh I’ve been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be, someday it’s going to come

’Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again

Now I’ve been smiling lately, thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun

Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Come on now peace train
Yes, peace train holy roller

Everyone jump upon the peace train
Come on now peace train

Get your bags together, go bring your good friends too
’Cause it’s getting nearer, it soon will be with you

Now come and join the living, it’s not so far from you
And it’s getting nearer, soon it will all be true

Now I’ve been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating, why can’t we live in bliss

’Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country, come take me home again”

“Peace Train,” by Yusuf / Cat Stevens.
Unofficial lyrics courtesy of AZLyrics.com.

Many songs begin with a problem or issue, and, as the story develops, resolution unfolds. “Peace Train,” however, opens with light and hope, and near the end, the writer tells of his sorrow over conflict. Nevertheless, he reprises the hopeful chorus, beckoning the arrival of the Peace Train.

May it come calling at all stations soon.

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

“Peace Train” comes from the 1971 album Teaser and the Firecat.

Here’s the audio for the song from Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ YouTube channel:

And, a 2021 video featuring over 25 musicians in 12 countries under the Playing For Change organization’s Song Around The World initiative, “created to inspire and connect the world through music”:

With my best wishes,

Steve

PS: If you are feeling overwhelmed by the situation, remember to be gentle with yourself and take breaks from news and social media.

4 thoughts on “Peace Train

  1. What is taking place in the Ukraine is a true fight for freedom. Ukraine has a leader and a people committed to their cause. I’m so impressed. Peace may be some way down the road but let’s hope they are able to achieve it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been a fan of Cat Stevens since I first heard the album “Tea for the Tillerman”, which, incidentally, was released on my sixth birthday. Though not on this album, Peace Train is one of my favorite Cat Stevens songs. And you are correct, this is the right time for this post. I believe it is just as relevant today as it was the day it was first released, if not more so. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for your reflections and comments, Stephen. I, too, grew up with Stevens’ music and this is likewise one of my favourites.

      Like

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