Monday, 21 September 2009


Unique among singer-songwriter anti-war songs, this is a chilly, eery lament, musically uneasy with itself, lyrically masterful, all the more telling for its detachment, its damning of the whole rotten game.

"Whether they were from here or there,

their race and place I would not be heeding

the men who caused such bitterness

if hearts they have, let their hearts ve bleeding....."

A home-made Orkney video by an anonymous stringy. Organ of Ely Cathedral, Malcolm le Maistre; pipe and vocal Robin Williamson.

As I beside some winter's fire
Sat writing words strange and steady
Amongst my own internal choir
Came voices to my mind unready
Of those who died on either side
While friends cry o'er their bones unburied
Go sighing through the north east winds
These cold days of February

Some clerk with papers and his pen
Some banker with his poison pity
Some captain careless of his men
These fan the flames that maim the cities
And bigots in the name of Christ
By thorny paths obscure and muddy
Can fear to roam through years of cold
Bewailing how their hands are bloody

Whether they were from here or there
Their race and place I would not be heeding
The men who caused such bitterness
If hearts they have let their hearts be bleeding
Who neither for age nor the young child
Would turn the shot of the arms they carried
Go bear the guilt a weary ways
For the cold days of February

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