Saturday, November 12, 2005

Another Remembrance

Before we leave Veterans'/Armistice/Remembrance Day behind for another year, here's one more reflection. Click the link to listen. ("The Last Post" is the British bugler's equivalent of America's "Taps". "The Flowers of the Forest" is the Scottish piper's equivalent, and the link is to the wistful words of the song.)

No Man's Land
Eric Bogle

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside
And rest for awhile 'neath the warm summer sun?
I've been walking all day now, and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916;
Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean,
Or, young Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they sound the fifes lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er you
As they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sing
"The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play
"The Flowers Of The Forest"?


Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
And though you died back in 1916,
In that loyal heart are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enclosed there forever behind some glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn and battered and stained,
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they sound the fifes lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er you
As they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sing
"The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play
"The Flowers Of The Forest"?


The sun's shining now on these green fields of France,
The warm summer breeze makes the red poppies dance,
The trenches have vanished long under the plow;
There's no gas, no barbed wire, there're no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard it's still No Man's Land:
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man,
And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they sound the fifes lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er you
As they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sing
"The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play
"The Flowers Of The Forest"?


I can't help wonder now, Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie with you know why they died?
Did you really believe when they told you the cause,
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
For the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain,
The killing and dying, were all done in vain,
For, young Willie McBride, it's all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they sound the fifes lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er you
As they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sing
"The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play
"The Flowers Of The Forest"?

1 Comments:

At November 19, 2005 at 7:56:00 AM EST, Blogger Mixedchiq said...

That's so suweet! My Dad is a WW2 Vet, and I'm just glad that he didn't died at the war, otherwise I wouldn't be here.

 

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