No Man's Land

Words and Music: Eric Bogle

 

Well, how do you do, Private William McBride,

Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?

And rest for a while in the warm summer sun,

I've been walking all day, Lord, and I'm nearly done.

And 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 the play the pipes lowly?

Did the rifles fire o'er you as they lowered you down?

Did the bugles play The Last Post in chorus?

Did the pipes play the Flowers of 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 ever 19?

Or are you a stranger without even a name,

Forever enshrined behind the glass pane,

Of an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained,

And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

 

The sun's shining down on the green fields of France;

The warm wind blows gently, and the red poppies dance.

The trenches have long vanished under the plough;

No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.

But here in the 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 to a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

 

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 could end wars?

For all the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame

The killing, and the dying, it was all done in vain,

Oh, Willie McBride, itís all happened again,

And again, and again, and again, and again.

 

Copyright Larrikin Music, Ltd.