When you stand all alone
And you feel the weight of zero in your bones
When the wrong just goes on
And the fight is like a night without a dawn
(Bean and Lugsy)
There’s a voice you will hear
It will tell you what is right in spite of fear
And the voice is a drum
It will lead you to your courage, it will tell your friends to come
(Bean and Lugsy repeat Part 1 while the other bunnies sing Part 2 twice)
We are marching to the drum of time, it tells us where to go
We are marching, we are searching for an end to hate and woe
We will march against the mighty, we will march against the strong
We will march to free our brother who has suffered under wrong
(call and response)
Drum of right (drum of right)
Lead the fight (lead the fight)
Drum of time (drum of time)
We shall climb (we shall climb)
We will march to fight the wicked till the wicked takes to flight
For we serve the drum of right—drum drum drum!
“Drum of Time” from The Tale of the Bunny Picnic
Inspired by “The Tale of the Giant Hedgehog,” Bean recruits the other young bunnies into building a Giant Bunny costume to frighten away the dog. But when the Dog captures Lugsy, Bean has to take his place and do the voice of the Giant Bunny. In his best Deep and Important Voice, Bean tells the dog the moral of the story, “Those who hurt others hurt themselves.” “That’s profound,” the Dog says to himself and reluctantly lets Lugsy go. But when the Dog explains that he needs a bunny to give the Farmer for his stew, Bean panics and the Giant Bunny collapses, and the real bunnies inside scatter to safety.
The Dog hears the Farmer coming and shakes in fear, and Bean approaches him to ask what’s wrong. Bean is astounded when he realizes that the big, horrible Dog could be afraid of someone. They hide together, and when the Dog explains that bunnies make the Farmer sneeze, Bean has another idea. He stands by himself in front of the farmer and starts to sing, but the other bunnies join him one by one.
This song has always given me goosebumps. As a little girl, when my biggest concern was being picked on by my big brother, it gave me a feeling of inspiration, wonder, and rightfulness. As an adult living in a world infinitely more complicated and dangerous, this song still awakens that youthful certainty in the power of good people coming together to stand against injustice. It’s still my favorite protest song.
I wish the Big Bads in power were as easy to frighten away as a sneezing farmer who’s allergic to bunnies. I wish standing together and singing in the face of evil was enough to defeat it. But I know it’s not. I harbor no delusions that holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” (or even “Drum of Time”) will either soften or frighten the hearts of the corrupt and convince them to give up their power; it will not change or abolish a single unjust law.
But a song can sooth an exhausted person’s bruised and ragged heart. A song can lift up their spirit and give them the strength to carry on. It can bring people together to continue the hard, neverending, and crucial work.
It will lead you to your courage, it will tell your friends to come.