Songs of the World War

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The ward-fire burns in a cheery way, A vision in every flame, There are books to read and games to play But oh! ALONG the road in the evening the brown battalions wind, With the trenches' threat of death before, the peaceful homes behind; And luck is with you or luck is not as the ticket of fate is drawn, The boys go up to the trench at dusk, but who will come back at dawn? The winds come soft of an evening o'er the fields of golden grain, The good sharp scythes will cut the corn ere we come back again; The village girls will tend the grain and mill the Autumn yield While we go forth to other work upon another field.

What I'm doing just now: Here on the first of November, Shivering mute on a bough. Good watch we will keep if we don't fall asleep, As we huddle for warmth in a shell-shovelled hole. In the battle-lit night all the plain is alight, Where the grasshoppers chirp to the frogs in the pond, And the star-shells are seen bursting red, blue, and green, O'er the enemy's trench just a stone's-throw beyond.

The grasses hang damp o'er each wee glow- worm lamp That is placed on the ground for a fairy camp-fire, And the night-breezes wheel where the mice squeak and squeal, Making sounds like the enemy cutting our wire. Here are thousands of toads in their ancient abodes, Each toad on its stool and each stool in its place, And a robin sits by with a vigilant eye On a grim garden-spider's wife washing her face. Now Bill never sees any marvels like these, When I speak of the sights he looks up with amaze, And he smothers a yawn, saying, "Wake me at dawn," While the Dustman from Nod sprinkles dust in his eyes.

But these things you'll see if you come out with me, And sit by my side in a shell-shovelled hole, Where the fairy-bells croon to the ivory moon When the soldier is out on a listening-patrol. When the men stand still to their rifles, And the star-shells riot and flare, Flung from the sandbag alleys, Into the ghostly air. They see in the growing grasses That rise from the beaten zone Their poor unforgotten comrades Wasting in skin and bone, And the grass creeps silently o'er them Where comrade and foe are blent In God's own peaceful churchyard When the fire of their might is spent.

But the men who stand to their rifles See all the dead on the plain Rise at the hour of midnight To fight their battles again. Each to his place in the combat, All to the parts they played With bayonet, brisk to its purpose, Rifle and hand grenade.

Shadow races with shadow, Steel comes quick on steel, Swords that are deadly silent And shadows that do not feel. And shades recoil and recover And fade away as they fall In the space between the trenches, And the watchers see it all. I strop my razor on the sling; the bayonet stand is made For me to hang my mirror on. I often use it, too, As handle for the dixie, sir, and lug around the stew. Penalty is seven days' C. THE TRENCH THE long trench, twisting, turning, wanders wayward as a rlver Through the poppy-flowers blooming in the grasses dewy wet, The buttercups sit shyly and the daisies nod and quiver, Where the bright defiant bayonets rim the sandbagged parapet, In the peaceful dawn the trenches hold a menace and a threat.

The last faint evening streamer touches heaven with its finger, The vast night's starry legion sends its first lone herald star, Around the bay and traverse little twilight colours linger And incense-laden breezes come in crooning from afar, To where above the sandbags gleam the steely fangs of war.

All the night the frogs go chuckle, all the day the birds are singing In the pond beside the meadow, by the roadway poplar-lined, In the field between the trenches are a million blossoms springing 'Twixt the grass of silver bayonets where the lines of battle wind Where man has manned the trenches for the maiming of his kind. The aeroplane above you may go droppin' bombs a bit, But lyin' in your dug-out you're unlucky if you're 'it.

V'en the breezes fills your trenches with hasfixiatin' gas, You puts on your respirator an' allows the stuff to pass. W'en you're up against a feller with a bayonet long an' keen, Just 'ave purchase of your weapon an' you'll drill the beggar clean. W'en man and 'oss is chargin' you, upon your knees you kneel, An' catch the 'oss's breastbone with an inch or two of steel. It's sure to end its canter, an' as the creature stops The rider pitches forward an' you catch 'im as 'e drops.

It's w'en 'e sees 'is danger, an' 'e knows 'is way about That a bloke is damned unlucky if e's knocked completely out. But out on Active Service there are dangers everywhere, The shrapnel shell and bullet that comes on you unaware, The saucy little rifle is a perky little maid, An' w'en you've got 'er message you 'ave done your last parade.

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Trench Songs

The four-point-five will seek you from some distant leafy wood, An' taps you on the napper an' you're out of step for good. From the gun within the spinney to the sniper up a tree There are terrors waitin' Tommy in the things 'e doesn't see. The guns are booming through the air, The trenches call us on, but oh! We don't go there, we don't go there! At night the stars are shining bright The old world voice is whispering near, We've heard it when the moon was light, And London's streets were very dear; But dearer now they are, sweetheart, The buses running to the Strand, -- But we're so far, so far apart, Each lonely in a different land.

One glance to see the foreign sky, One look to note the stars o'erhead, Sweet thoughts to you, sweetheart, and I Turn in to billet barn, and bed.

THE firefly haunts were lighted yet, As we scaled the top of the parapet; But the East grew pale to another fire, As our bayonets gleamed by the foeman's wire; And the sky was tinged with gold and grey, And under our feet the dead men lay, Stiff by the loop-holed barricade; Food of the bomb and the hand-grenade; Still in the slushy pool and mud -- Ah I the path we came was a path of blood, When we went to Loos in the morning.

A little grey church at the foot of a hill, With powdered glass on the window-sill. The shell-scarred stone and the broken tile, Littered the chancel, nave and aisle -- Broken the altar and smashed the pyx, And the rubble covered the crucifix; This we saw when the charge was done, And the gas-clouds paled in the rising sun, As we entered Loos in the morning. The dead men lay on the shell-scarred plain, Where Death and the Autumn held their reign -- Like banded ghosts in the heavens grey The smoke of the powder paled away; Where riven and rent the spinney trees Shivered and shook in the sullen breeze, And there, where the trench through the graveyard wound, The dead men's bones stuck over the ground By the road to Loos in the morning.

The turret towers that stood in the air, Sheltered a foeman sniper there -- They found, who fell to the sniper's aim, A field of death on the field of fame; And stiff in khaki the boys were laid To the sniper's toll at the barricade, But the quick went clattering through the town, Shot at the sniper and brought him down, As we entered Loos in the morning. The dead men lay on the cellar stair, Toll of the bomb that found them there.

In the street men fell as a bullock drops, Sniped from the fringe of Hulluch copse.

And the choking fumes of the deadly shell Curtained the place where our comrades fell, This we saw when the charge was done And the East blushed red to the rising sun In the town of Loos in the morning. Back again from the battle, From the mates we've left behind, And our officers are gloomy And the N. Here we are! Some have gone west, Best of the best, Lying out in the rain, Stiff as stones in the open, Out of the doings for good. They'll never come back to advance or attack; But, God! And when we took the cobbled road We often took before, Our thoughts were with the hearty lads Who trod that way no more.

Oh I lads out on the level fields, If you could call to mind The good red wine at Nouex-les-Mines You would not stay behind. And when we left the trench to-night, Each weary with his load, Grey, silent ghosts, as light as air, Came with us down the road. And now we sit us down to drink You sit beside us, too, And drink red wine at Nouex-les-Mines As once you used to do.

The Lost Songs Of World War II

THE dawn comes creeping o'er the plains, The saffron clouds are streaked with red, I hear the creaking limber chains, I see the drivers raise the reins And urge their weary mules ahead. And men go up and men go down, The marching hosts are grand to see In shrapnel-shivered trench and town, In spinneys where the leaves of brown Are falling on the dewy lea. Lonely and still the village lies, The houses sleeping, the blinds all drawn. The road is straight as the bullet flies, The villagers fix their waking eyes On the shrapnel smoke that shrouds the dawn. Out of the battle, out of the night, Into the dawn and the blush of day, The road that takes us back from the fight, The road we love, it is straight and white, And it runs from the battle, away, away.

They're with you in the dusk and the dawning and the noon, They come in close formation, in column and platoon. There's never zest like Tommy's zest when these have got to die: For Tommy takes his puttees off and strafs the blooming fly. OUT YONDER You may see his eye shine brightly, for he bears his burden lightly, As he makes his journey nightly up the long road from Bethune, With his bayonet briskly swinging, and you'll hear him singing, singing, In the silence and the silver, molten silver, of the moon.

Young and eager -- bright his face is, spirit of the shrapneled places Where the homes are battered, broken, and the land in ruin lies. But the young adventure burning gives him never time for yearning, And the natal flame of roving gleams like lightning in his eyes. What awaits you, boy, out yonder, where the great guns rip and thunder?

SONGS AND WAR - CANZONE ITALIANA

There's a menace in their message -- guns that called you from afar. But where'er your fortunes guide you may no woe or ill betide you -- Heaven speed you, little soldier, gaily going to the war. I have been gone from Donegal for seven years and a day, And true enough it's a long, long while for a wanderer to stay -- But the hills of home are aye in my heart and never are far away. The long white road winds o'er the hill from Fanad to Kilcar, And winds apast Gweebara Bay where the deep sea-waters are -- Where the long grey boats go out by night to fish beyond the bar.

I'll lie by the beach the livelong day, where the foreshore dips to the sea -- When the sun is red on the golden gorse as once it used to be; And, O! For the friends of my youth shall gather around, the friends that I knew of old, The olden songs will be sung to me and the old, old stories told Beside the fire of my father's house when the nights are long and cold.

Tyrone, and there, in the market-place, they are sold like cattle to the highest bidder. In the country o'er the mountains the rough roads straggle down, There's many a long and weary mile 'twixt there and Glenties town; I went to be a farmer's boy, to work the season through, From Whitsuntide to Hallowe'en, which time the rent came due. When virgin pure, the dawn's white arm stole o'er my mother's door, From Glenties town I took the road I never trod before; Come Lammas tide I would not see the trout in Greenan's Burn, And Hallowe'en might come and go, but I would not return.

My mother's love for me is warm; her house is cold and bare: A man who wants to see the world has little comfort there; And there 'tis hard to pay the rent, for all you dig and delve, But there's hope beyond the mountains for a little man of twelve. When I went o'er the mountains I worked for days on end, Without a saul to cheer me through or one to call me friend; With older mates I toiled and toiled, in rain and heat and wind, And kept my place.

A Glenties man is never left behind. The farmer's wench looked down on me, for she was spruce and clean, But men of twelve don't care for girls like lads of seventeen; And sorrow take the farmer's wench! And so from May to Hallowe'en I wrought and felt content, And sent my wages through the post to pay my mother's rent; For I kept up the Glenties name, and blest, when all was done, The pride that gave a man of twelve the strength of twenty-one. THE DUG-OUT DEEPER than the daisies in the rubble and the loam, Wayward as a river the winding trenches roam, Past bowed, decrepit dug-outs leaning on their props, Beyond the shattered village -where the lightest limber stops; Through fields untilled and barren, and ripped by shot and shell, -- The bloodstained braes of Souchez, the meadows of Vermelles, And poppies crown the parapet that rises from the mud -- Where the soldiers' homes -- the dug-outs -- are built of clay and blood.

Our comrades on the level roofs, the dead men, waste away Upon the soldiers' frontier homes, the crannies in the clay; For on the meadows of Vermelles, and all the country round, The stiff and still stare at the skies, the quick are underground. THERE'S the butter, gad, and horse-fly, The blow-fly and the blue, The fine fly and the coarse fly, But never flew a worse fly Of all the flies that flew Than the little sneaky black fly That gobbles up our ham, The beggar's not a slack fly, He really is a crack fly, And wolfs the soldiers' jam.

So straf' that fly! It is a double CD for the price of one and for the past three years it has consistently outsold all other Greentrax albums.

The album is a tribute to all the soldiers from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, and also their Commonwealth brothers in arms from all corners of the globe, who fought and suffered together in the Great War and, in particular, all those who died. The album has been one of the top-selling titles on the Celtic Connections record stall. The album has a more Scottish perspective than any of its predecessors but when one considers that Scotland suffered the most soldiers killed, per head of population, of any nation that fought in the conflict, such an album was greatly overdue. It is also doubtful if the songs, poems and music of WW1 have ever before been covered in such depth.

June was also finally able to fulfil a life-long desire to visit the graveyard of her Grandfather McLennan, in one of the many beautifully maintained War Cemeteries. Such a visit is highly recommended. The scale of slaughter becomes very real when you are confronted with huge war cemeteries around every corner, plus large monuments containing thousands upon thousands of names of young men whose bodies were never recovered.

The words lest we forget and we will remember them take on a new meaning. Search: Search. The First World War — 18 provided a unique opportunity for the emergence of a national repertory that was common to the whole of the country, from the Alps to the island of Sicily. Songs were instrumental to the spreading of the Italian language and cultural values shared by different social classes. Traditional Alpine chants and military songs combine a popular repertory and one proposed by the dominant culture, divided into several sub-genres: 1 songs extolling warlike values and patriotic self-abnegation; 2 light-hearted songs to accompany marches and lulls in military action, which included regional repertories as well as remakes of popular songs; 3 songs of resignation, anguish and pain; 4 songs of anger, protest and ridicule — the anti-militaristic vein.

The soundtrack to the war also included a minor repertory consisting of songs of imprisonment, barracks songs, mountain songs, patriotic hymns and ballads that became hit records like 'O surdato' nnamurato The soldier in love and La Leggenda del Piave The legend of the Piave river Whereas World War II only produced songs of propaganda suitable for radio broadcasts, the Resistance made an important contribution to the genre. Partisan songs eg.