...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

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


3 comments:

Mike said...

They used to call my father in law "Gene The Marine." He was the roughest, gruffest, meanest son of a bitch that ever walked. He WAS the invasion force on Iwo Jima and he humped that island from one side to the other and lived to talk about it.

Only he didn't talk about it.

He was on the local draft board when I had to sign up for the draft in 1972. He took one look at me and said "they are going to love to get their hands on you!"

He cried on the day I married his daughter 7 years later.

I cried on the day we buried him to the sound of that 21 gun salute going off in the background somewhere.

Hell, I didn't even cry at my own father's funeral.

Malach the Merciless said...

Thanks for that

Beach Bum said...

I still hold that the massive Vietnam-like protests that never came about against the Iraq war is because most of the country could safely sit back and watch working class and poor kids march off to war.

I'm hoping that with Obama in office "wars of choice" like Iraq can be avoided for a while but with television, movies, and video games making war seem almost easy and fun a huge number of people still seem to have a far to glamorous view of death and destruction. Such views usually come back and bite those people in the ass in not sooner, it will certainly come later.