God Bless the Grass

Remember how it looked early in the month? My neighbors had to put in a new septic. The little deck outside my studio apartment gave me a front row seat.

October 9, 2014

October 6, 2014

This is how it looked yesterday, from the same vantage point — outside my neighbors’ kitchen. That hole in the middle is, we think, going to be a pond. Despite the rain we’ve had recently, there’s still no water in it.

October 24, 2014

October 24, 2014

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow,” I thought. “Beneath the crosses, row on row . . .” It’s not the antiwar poem I remembered. Its Dead want the living to “take up our quarrel with the foe” — to replenish their numbers in the ground, pushing up poppies.

“Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” is an antiwar song, but there’s no grass in that one either.

While walking along Pine Hill with Travvy, I listened to my boots. (That’s a blatant steal from a Pete Morton song. It’s on his album Swarthmoor.) My boots were saying “Dum dum da DUM.” Pretty soon I was singing along: “God bless the grass . . .”

I love the song, but I was shaky on the words. Here they are.

God Bless the Grass

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1964 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1992. People often think of this as an ecology song, but Malvina wrote it after reading Mark Lane’s comments about the John F. Kennedy assassination.

God bless the grass that grows thru the crack.
They roll the concrete over it to try and keep it back.
The concrete gets tired of what it has to do,
It breaks and it buckles and the grass grows thru,
And God bless the grass.

God bless the truth that fights toward the sun,
They roll the lies over it and think that it is done.
It moves through the ground and reaches for the air,
And after a while it is growing everywhere,
And God bless the grass.

God bless the grass that grows through cement.
It’s green and it’s tender and it’s easily bent.
But after a while it lifts up its head,
For the grass is living and the stone is dead,
And God bless the grass.

God bless the grass that’s gentle and low,
Its roots they are deep and its will is to grow.
And God bless the truth, the friend of the poor,
And the wild grass growing at the poor man’s door,
And God bless the grass.


And here is Malvina Reynolds (1900–1978) singing it. (In case you were wondering why my Subaru’s name is Malvina Forester, she’s the one.)



About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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3 Responses to God Bless the Grass

  1. Sharon Stewart says:

    I was indeed wondering about Malvina Forester. Now I know!


  2. Shirley says:

    What a lovely song! Thank you, Susanna…….


    • Isn’t it? Pete Seeger used to sing it too. Malvina had a funny song with a similar message, about a mouse that crashed the banks in Bueno Aires by chewing through the wires. I don’t think I ever heard Malvina live. If I did, it was at an antiwar demo. But I know a bunch of her songs. 🙂


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