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1monster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-31-04 02:04 PM
Original message
Again and again and again and again...
A reflective Memorial Day to you all...

http://www.aftermathww1.com/stream/ericbogle.html (sung by Eric Bogle)

THE GREEN FIELDS OF FRANCE
By Eric Bogle

Well how do you do, Private William McBride
Do you mind if I sit here down by your grave side?
And I'll rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done.
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, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?

Chorus:
Did they beat the drum slowly?
Did they sound the fife lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered you down?
Did the bugles sing 'The Last Post' in chorus?
Did the pipes play 'The Flowers o' 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 always 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 fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

Chorus

Well the sun's shining now on these green fields of France,
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance.
The trenches are vanished long under the plough
No gas, and no barbed wire, 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.

Chorus

And I can't help but wonder now Willie McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
You really believed that this war would end war?
But the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame -
The killing and dying - it was all done in vain.
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again.

Chorus



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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-31-04 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. I can't shake Vietnam this weekend, my generation's senseless war
despite all the WW2 hooha and the senseless war we're currently fighting.

For those so inclined, eere's a magnificent page of poetry -- and some heartwrenching comments under "David responds" from a Vietnam War Nurse, posted by another DUer earlier today:

http://www.illyria.com/dustyhp.html
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1monster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-31-04 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. That's two poems today that made me weep.
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Droopy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-31-04 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. Good song
Can't say as I've ever heard it before, but it captures the way I feel on Memorial Day. This one in particular.
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dbt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-31-04 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Find you an Irish pub, Droopy.
Somebody inside will know it complete and it'll break your heart to hear it.

:beer:
dbt
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dbt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-31-04 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
3. The companion piece, also by Bogle:
And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Now when I was a young man I carried me pack
And I lived the free life of the rover.
From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback,
Well, I waltzed my Matilda all over.
Then in 1915, my country said, "Son,
It's time you stop ramblin', 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 quay,
And amidst all the cheers, the flag waving, and tears,
We sailed off for Gallipoli.

And how well I remember that terrible day,
How our blood stained the sand and the water;
And of how in that hell that they call Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter.
Johnny Turk, he was waitin', he primed himself well;
He showered us with bullets, and he rained us with shell --
And in five minutes flat, he'd blown us all to hell,
Nearly blew us right back to Australia.

But the band played "Waltzing Matilda,"
When we stopped to bury our slain,
Well, we buried ours, and the Turks buried theirs,
Then we started all over again.

And those that were left, well, we tried to survive
In that mad world of blood, death 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, well, 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 --
To hump tents and pegs, a man needs both legs,
No more "Waltzing Matilda" for me.

So they gathered the crippled, the wounded, the maimed,
And they shipped us back home to Australia.
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane,
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla.
And as our ship sailed into Circular Quay,
I looked at the place where me legs used to be,
And thanked Christ there was nobody waiting for me,
To grieve, to mourn and to pity.

But 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.
And so now every April, I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me.
And I see my old comrades, how proudly they march,
Reviving old dreams of past glory,
And the old men march slowly, all 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 meself 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 Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong,
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?

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1monster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-31-04 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Thank you for posting that.
Eric Bogle is quite eloquent, isn't he?
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