“If I Had My Way”

July 18, 2015

I have found myself listening to live recordings on YouTube of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing their version of the Rev. Gary Davis* song about Samson and Delilah.  They call it “If I Had My Way.”  It’s a pretty rousing song, so the live performances have a lot of kick.  I think I am caught on the idea that Samson is saying that if he had his way, he would tear this building down — leaving open the possibility that he won’t.

*I see that Wikipedia says that the original writer of the song was Blind Willie Johnson.

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14 Responses to ““If I Had My Way””

  1. Matthew Says:

    Interesting, but didn’t he have his way? Samson pulled the temple down upon the Philistines.

    “the live performances have a lot of kick” reminds me of something (another couple covers);

  2. Matthew Says:

    “This we call hope, and hope is a precious gift. Yet after all it has something forbidden about it. Because it contracts the value of the hallowed present and anticipates the festal hours of the
    cycle, which are not yet at hand. Each hour has its honour, and he does not live aright who cannot despair.”

    -Joseph the Provider, Thomas Mann

    • Diana Moses Says:

      Despair is about the future too, isn’t it?

      • Diana Moses Says:

        The first time I woke up this morning was about a quarter to five and I just felt held in the moment, and it felt so calm and peaceful. I also felt that I needed to not look outside of it if I was to stay in it. That included not looking at the future or at the past or even to the side or up or down — just letting the mind rest and stay out of the way. I have no idea why I woke up in that state today but I’ll take it, with gratitude to whatever (or whoever) helped me to it.

      • Matthew Says:

        I think people are optimistic by nature, and this colors our disposition in general (people generally don’t say, “why me?” when something good happens to them), and especially towards the past and the future. eg;

        http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/04/marathon-runners-forget-how-awful-marathons-are.html

        The effect of emotions must follow something similar to the inverse square law; our distance from them diminishes their effect, and in the absence of said effect, our generally optimistic disposition increasingly takes over.

        It’s a good thing, in general, I think. It’s a reflection that life is essentially positive; that, in spite of the occasional suffering, it’s worth it, and even when it’s bad it will get better.

        On the other hand, optimism can be problematic too. “Hope for the best, plan for the worst” is good advice, and I’ve discovered that for most people their hope gets in the way of their ability to plan. People are averse to negativity, naturally, and this can cloud their judgment in a way that makes them vulnerable.

        With that in mind, and harking back to the original theme;

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samson_Option

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8744913/Full-scale-Middle-East-war-is-imminent-warns-Israeli-general.html

  3. Rich Says:

    I’ve heard the Grateful Dead version

    • Diana Moses Says:

      I will have to check it out. Thanks.

      I have also been listening to what is for me a new version of the ballad Tam Lin, done by Anaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer.


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