The soldier    (video)

 

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1. In a station in the city a British soldier stood,

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    talking to the people there if the people would.

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    Some just stared in hatred, and others turned in pain,

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    and the lonely British soldier wished he was back home again.

 

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    Come join the British Army ! said the posters in his town

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    see the world and have your fun, come, serve before the Crown !

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    The jobs were hard to come by and he could not face the dole,

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    so he took his country's shilling and enlisted on the roll.

 

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2. For there was no fear of fighting, the Empire long was lost,

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    just ten years in the army getting paid for being bossed.

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    Then leave a man experienced, a man who's made the grade,

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    a medal and a pension, some mem'ries and a trade.

 

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3. Then came the call to Ireland as the call had come before,

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    another bloody chapter in an endless civil war.

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    The priests, they stood on both sides, the priests, they stood behind

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    another fight in Jesus’ name, the blind against the blind.

 

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    The soldier stood between them, between the whistling stones,

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    and then the broken bottles that led to broken bones,

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    the petrol bombs that burnt his hands, the nails that pierced his skin,

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    and wished that he had stayed at home surrounded by his kin.

 

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4. The station filled with people, the soldier soon was bored,

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    but better in the station than where the people warred.

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    The room filled up with mothers, with daughters and with sons,

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    who stared with itchy fingers at the soldier and his guns.

 

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5. A yell of fear, a screech of brakes, the shattering of glass,

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    the window of the station broke to let the package pass.

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    A scream came from the mothers as they ran towards the door,

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    dragging children crying from the bomb upon the floor.

 

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6. The soldier stood and could not move, his gun he could not use,

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    he knew the bomb had seconds and not minutes on the fuse.

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    He could not run to pick it up and throw it in the street,

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    there were far too many people there, too many running feet.

 

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    Take cover! yelled the soldier, take cover for your lives !

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  And the Irishmen threw down their young and stood before their wives.

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    They turned towards the soldier, their eyes alive with fear,

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    For God's sake save our children or they'll end their short lives here !

 

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7. The soldier moved towards the bomb, his stomach like a stone,

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    why was this his battle, God, why was he alone ?

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    He lay down on the package and he murmured one farewell

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    to those at home in England, to those he loved so well.

 

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8. He saw the sights of summer, felt the wind upon his brow,

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    the young girls in the city parks, how precious were they now.

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    The soaring of the swallow, the beauty of the swan,

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    the music of the turning world, so soon would it be gone.

 

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9. A muffled soft explosion, and the room began to quake,

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    the soldier blown across the floor, his blood a crimson lake.

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    They never heard him cry or shout, they never heard him moan,

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and they turned their children's faces from the blood and from the bones.

 

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    The crowd outside soon gathered and the ambulances came,

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    to carry off the body of a pawn lost in the game.

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    And the crowd, they clapped and cheered,

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    and they sang their rebel songs,

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    one soldier less to interfere where he did not belong.

 

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    But will the children growing up learn at their mothers' knees,

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    the story of the soldier who bought their liberty ?

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    Who used his youthful body as a means towards the end,

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    who gave his life to those who called him murderer not friend ?

 

    (Harvey Andrews)