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WAR ©

Baba
Stewarton, Scotland
2004

We volunteered: we signed our name, accepted regal shilling
With beaming smiles we swelled the ranks of youthful eager willing
Leaving home for foreign field our nations youth would gather
The blessed British Army now our mother and our father

Through cheering crowds and military bands we boarded for our voyage
And pretty girls we never knew blew kisses in our homage
Then we sailed away from them, the cheering growing distant
Banished female form from view, the male form now the constant

And when we reached that foreign shore, moored to disembark
A patient rank of coffins wait: to silently embark
They bear no names just numbers as they're stacked into the hold
More precious cargo can't be found, no jewel or finest gold

This then was our welcome to the land we were to free
A land so drenched in our youths' blood answering Kitcheners' plea
A coffins' just a box, where deaths' faceless, sanitised
A simple wooden blanket wrapping, death has been disguised

We simply shrug and bow our heads as we march towards the fight
We never dwelled on those poor souls the wood had kept from sight
The landscape that we marched through looked the same as left behind
The meadows and the fields we played, ever present in our mind

Our singing and our joking startled the passing of some nuns
They crossed themselves and knelt in prayer, in the distance boomed the guns
The pastures now began to thin: the colours fade to grey
The landscape now before us, a grotesque sculpture made of clay

Our singing stops, we're silent now, dulled and muted witness
Cratered earth from countless shell it's ugly and lifeless
Giant ploughs have dug their furrows, scared the very earth
And now we find this is our home, these graves will be our berth

This land has suffered many wounds: Frankenstein in structure
The barbed wire fencing zigzag routes: mad doctors healing suture
And there we see more passengers: like we met upon the dock
Exposed to us their final pose: our senses do they mock

Death was in his playground he no longer needed shroud
Look upon his workmanship of which he is so proud
Working to agenda: he's indiscriminate in plan
Nothing here could cover up the nakedness of man

Some of them in slumber fain, as if sleeping where they lay
While others lie in pieces staining red upon the grey
From the barbed wire metal fences hang the chunks of human flesh
Perverse medals pinned upon ensnaring shiny mesh

Accompanying all this imagery we were accosted by such sounds
The chirping of machine gun, the thump of killer rounds
The whistling of artillery shell as they fly through bird-less sky
But over all this orchestra, you can hear the human cry

So this is how they welcome us, our brothers to this place
Put to death our innocence: meet horror face to face
And deep inside we know quite soon we'll challenge our mortality
War and death go hand in hand, you must question the morality

And should death come to get me, meet me in the no-mans' land
Leave in peace my brothers, on my shoulder place your hand
I'll surrender then, my soul to God, for I have done my duty
But leave my friends to carry on, to end this bloody cruelty


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