on the threshold of a dream
The thread in the lounge about favorite poems gave me the perfect excuse to prowl in the archives, trying to find the URL for poems I'd printed out and saved. And it would be truth to say this one has been haunting me because it's Memorial Day weekend... but the bigger truth is that it's haunted me since the first reading for both its poignancy and its perfection. *S*
But reading the comments again did remind me of this song written in 1976 about WWI. Eric Bogle is a Scotsman who's lived in Australia for many years... His "No More I'll Go Waltzin' Matilda" (about Galipoli) would be worth the price of the CD if that was the only song recorded. *S* You and he write of different wars in different places but the death and devastation are the same... I hope you don't mind me including these lyrics. *S*
No Man's Land (also known as The Green Fields of France) - words and music by Eric Bogle, 1976
Well, how'd you do, Private Willie McBride,
D'you mind if I sit down here by your graveside?
I'll rest for awhile in the warm summer sun,
Been walking all day, Lord, and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916,
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 sound the fife lowly?
Did the rifles fire o'er ye as they lowered ye down?
Did the bugles sing "The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play the "Fleurs O' 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,
To that loyal heart are you forever nineteen?
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?
Well, the sun's shining down on these green fields of France;
The warm wind blows gently, 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;
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.
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?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame,
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.