Sunday, 8 November 2009

No Man's Land (Holly Kirby)

A great song about the waste of life in war.

(Eric Bogle)

Well how do you do, young Willie McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside,
A rest for a while in the warm summer sun?
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone that you were only 19
When you joined the great call up in 1916.
Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean.
Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat the drum slowly?
Did they play the pipes lowly?
Did they play the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play '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 although you died back in 1916,
In that faithful heart are you forever 19.

Or are you just a stranger without a name
Enclosed behind some glass-pane
In an old photograph, battered and stained
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

The sun, oh it shines on the green fields of France,
The warm summer breeze makes the red poppies dance.
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds.
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard, it's still No Man's Land
And the countless white crosses in mute witness stand.
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
To the whole generation that was butchered and downed.


  1. The last lines sum it up.

    "To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
    To the whole generation that was butchered and downed."

    As Wilfred Owen said, if you could see and hear the brutality of war, you would not tell with such high zest
    "To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori."

    I posted this because it's Remembrance Day today which commemorates all those who were sent out to fight and lost their lives, especially in the Great Wars.

  2. Yes, gratitude is very deep for this moving song and the telling photos, as is the pain feel for the "obscenity" of war, violence, death. i am in high remembrance for all fallen soldiers, both those who died and those who lived to continue their own painful remembrance.