08 November 2013

Why Do We Still March?

Why Do We Still March?
Why do you still march old man
With medals on your chest?
Why do you still grieve old man
For those friends you laid to rest?
Why do your eyes gleam old man
When you hear those bugles blow
Tell me why you cry old man
For those days long ago.

I'll tell you why I march, young man
With medals on my chest
I'll tell you why I grieve young man
For those friends I laid to rest
Through misty folds of gossamer silk
Come visions of distant times
When boys of very tender age
Marched forth to distant climes

So young they were, with blossom cheeks
Their eyes shone bright and clear
Scant knowledge of this sinful world
Thought nought of hate or fear
Their laughter rang through strange bare rooms
Hardships, they were soon to know
All they knew, was beyond their shores
Was a deadly vicious foe

They left behind their boring life
They had nothing much to give
so they laid their lives on the line
so you, young man, would live

With bayonet, gun and blossom cheeks
The innocence of their youth
They stood alone, with fearsome pride
And perceived the awful truth
The truth they learnt, they had to die
(it's not easy when you're young)
the gods of war had chosen them
and stilled their youthful tongues

The guns they crashed, the Stukas dived
Shell tore their flesh asunder
I smelt their blood, watched them die
The war lords claimed their plunder
And as these warrior gods passed by
They smiled at their obscene death
Gone were their apple-blossom cheeks
Scorched by napalm burning breath!

We buried them in a blanket shroud
Their young flesh scorched and blacken
A communal grave newly gouged
In the blood-stained earth
And you ask me why I march! Young man
I march to remind you all
But for those apple-blossom youths
You would never have known freedom, at all.

Bill Ridley

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