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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Armistice Day-

-John McCrae



Well how'd y'do, Private Willie McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here, down by your graveside?
And I'll rest for a while in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day now, and I'm nearly done.

And I see by your gravestone you were only 19,
when you joined the Glorious Fallen, in 1916,
well I hope you died quick, and I hope you died clean...
or Willy McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the fife lonely?
did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles play the "Last Post" and chorus?
did the pipes play "The Fields, and the Forest"?

And did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
And though you died back in 1916,
to that loyal heart, are you forever 19?

Or are you a stranger, without even a name?
forever enshrined, behind some glass pane,
in an old photograph- torn and tattered and stained,
and faded to yellow, in a brown leather frame?

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the fife lonely?
did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles play the "Last Post" and chorus?
did the pipes play "The Fields, and the Forest"?

Now the sun's shining down on these green fields of France,
the soft wind blows gently and the red poppies dance,
the trenches have vanished long under the plow,
no gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.

But here in this graveyard it's still No Man's Land,
as thousands of white crosses in mute witness stand,
to Man's blind indifference to his fellow Man,
and a whole generation that was butchered and damned.

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the fife lonely?
did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles play the "Last Post" and chorus?
did the pipes play "The Fields, and the Forest"?

And one final question, young Willie McBride,
do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the Cause?
Did you really believe that that War would end wars?

For the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
the killing, the dying, it was all done in vain.
Young Willie McBride,
it all happened again...
and again
and again
and again
and again...

Did they beat the drum slowly, did they sound the fife lonely?
did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles play the "Last Post" and chorus?
did the pipes play "The Fields, and the Forest"?

-Eric Bogle


14 comments:

AngryMan said...

Excellent find, dude.

Malach the Merciless said...

Nice, I will repost this at me blog tonight

Sara Sue said...

Beautiful.

Mike said...

Perfect Veterans Day post.

Preposterous Ponderings said...

That was so sweet!

here today, gone tomorrow said...

Perfect, colonel colonel. Thank you.

TED VELVET said...

great stuff, Dropkicks do a version of the green fields of france,the best (in my opinion) anti war song is-"and the band played waltzing Matilda" about the Australian troops at the siege of Galopoli in WWI,


"... And those that were left, well, we tried to survive
In that mad world of death, blood and fire.
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses piled higher.
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over head,
And when I woke up in me hospital bed
And saw what it had done, christ, I wished I was dead --
Never knew there was worse things than dying.

For I'll go no more "Waltzing Matilda,"
All around the green bush far and free --
For to hump tents and pegs, a man needs both legs,
No more "Waltzing Matilda" for me.

Colonel Colonel said...

TV- Eric Bogle sang that as well, thanks for mentioning it. Oh hell, we might as well share the whole thing-

Well, when I was a young man
I carried me pack,
and I lived the free life of a rover.
From the Mary's green basin
to the dusty outback,
I waltzed my Matilda all over.

Then in 1915, my country said, "Son-
It's time you stopped rambling,
there's work to be done."
So they gave me a tin hat,
and they gave me a gun,
and they marched me away to the War.

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
as the ship pulled away from the Key;
and amidst all the cheers,
the flag-waving and tears...
we sailed off for Gallipoli.

Oh, and how I'll remember that terrible day,
when our blood stained the sand and the water;
and of how in that Hell that they called Suvla Bay,
we were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.

Johnny Turk he was waiting,
he'd primed himself well.
He showered us with bullets
and he rained us with shells,
and in ten minutes flat,
he blew us all to Hell...
nearly blew us right back to Australia.

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
as we stopped to bury our slain.
We buried ours,
and the Turks buried theirs,
then we started all over again.

And those that were left, well we tried to survive,
amidst all that blood, death and fire.
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive,
while around me the corpses piled higher.

Then a big Turkish shell knocked me ass over head,
and when I woke up in me hospital bed,
and saw what it had done...
then I wished I were dead.
Never knew there were worse things than dying.

For I'll go no more waltzing Matilda,
all around the green bush far and free-
to hump tents and pegs,
a man needs both legs...
No more Waltzing Matilda for me.

Then they gathered the wounded,
the crippled, the maimed,
and they shipped us all back to Australia.
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane,
Those proud, wounded heroes of Suvla.

And as our ship pulled into Circular Key,
I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
and thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me...
to grieve, to mourn or to pity.

And the band played "Waltzing Matilda"
as they carried us down the gangway.
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared...
then they turned all their faces away.

So now every April I sit on my porch,
and I watch the parade pass before me.
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
reliving old dreams of past glory.

But the old men march slowly,
their bones stiff and sore,
they're tired old heroes,
from a forgotten war.
And the young people ask,
"What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question.

But the band plays "Waltzing Matilda",
and the old men still answer the Call,
but as year follows year, more old men disappear,
Someday no one will march there at all.

"Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda,
Who'll come a Waltzing Mastilda with me?"
And their ghosts may be heard,
as they march by that billabong,
"Who'll come a waltzing, Matilda with me?"

Beach Bum said...

Thanks Colonel, been a strange day thinking of several friends who are with the South Carolina National Guard's 218th infantry brigade currently in Afghanistan. I left the gung ho crap behind light years ago but since I retired I have occasional bouts where I feel I should still be wearing the uniform.

Sirdar said...

Great message on this day of remembering.

C.Rag said...

I'm repeating what everyone else said.

Tequila Mockingbird said...

love it. makes me want to drink whiskey and put on some flogging molly.

Colonel Colonel said...

Hey, thanks to everyone who enjoyed this!

And another big thanks to all our veterans!!!!!

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Haven't seen that in years Col. Thanks.

the horror