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Duath
Before The Battle
(June 25th, 1916)


Music of whispering trees
Hushed by the broad-winged breeze
Where shaken water gleams;
And evening radiance falling
With reedy bird-notes calling.
O bear me safe through dark, you low-voiced streams.

I have no need to pray
That fear may pass away;
I scorn the growl and rumble of the fight
That summons me from cool
Silence of marsh and pool,
And yellow lilies islanded in light.
O river of stars and shadows, lead me through the night.

By Siegfried Sassoon
25th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - Peter LaFarge, 'Custer'
Duath
Custer

Now I will tell you "busters"
I'm not a fan of Custer's;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

To some he was a hero,
But to me his score was zero;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

Now George, he'd had victories,
But never massacres;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

Old George had done his fightin'
Without too much excitin'
And the general he don't ride well any more.

When the men were away at huntin'
Old Custer would come in pumpin';
And the general he don't ride well any more.

He'd kill children, dogs and women,
With victories he was swimmin';
And the general he don't ride well any more.

Now the Sioux were gettin' tired,
And their temperatures were fired;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

Crazy Horse sent out the call
For Sitting Bull and Gall;
But the general he don't ride well any more.

Twelve thousand warriors waited,
They were unanticipated;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

Thus the Little Bighorn
Massacre was born;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

The Cheyenne and the Sioux
Had quite a lot to do;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

Old Custer split his men,
Well he won't do that again
'Cause the general he don't ride well any more.

The proud 7th Cavalry,
It got plumb masscred;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

Custer made his stand
With his little band;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

But he wasn't fighting women,
The Indians left them hidden;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

Custer got eliminated
And his legend uncreated;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

It's not called an Indian victory
But a bloody massacre;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

There would have been more enthusin'
If them Indians were losing;
But the general he don't ride well any more.

General George A. Custer,
His yellow hair had lustre;
But the general he don't ride well any more.

He got bombarded violent,
And now old George is silent;
And the general he don't ride well any more.

By Peter LaFarge

General George Custer died June 25, 1876

24th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - Traditional, 'Gunrunners'
Duath
Gunrunners

When I was eighteen years of age
In Carson's army I engaged
To fight for Ulster against home rule
A Mauser rifle was my tool
On Covenant day my first parade
When over half a million promised aid
We go to fight the enemy now
So we landed fifty thousand guns at Larne
We go to fight the enemy now
So we landed fifty thousand guns at Larne

That April night I'll never forget
Dispersing guns to face the threat
Throught the length of our beloved land
The die was cast, we made our stand
But another foe was before us now
Home rule was dead beneath the plough
When across to France our divisions sailed
Britain called we would not fail
When across to France our divisions sailed
Britain called we would not fail

We were Gunrunners, Gunrunners

So the story's told and it's understood
Of a charge that morning, Thiepval Wood
When Ulster's flower their lives did give
So that we at home could in freedom live
Well alas I fell on the Somme's great shore
But not alone there were thousands more
From every street, town and dale
A father, son or brother fell
From every street, town or dale
A father, son or brother fell

They were Gunrunners, Gunrunners. Yes Gunrunners

Traditional

The Larne gun-running, April 24-25 1914

The Irish at the Somme

Duath
A Soldier's Funeral

No splendid show of solemn funeral rite,
No stricken mourners following his bier,
No peal of organ reaching thro' his night,
Is rendered him whom now we bury here.

'Tis but a soldier stricken in the fight,
A youth who flung his passion into life,
Flung scorn at Death, fought true for Freedom's might,
Till Death did close his vision in the strife.

No splendid rite is here-yet lay him low,
Where the sweet brook doth babble by his side.
No splendour, yet we lay him tenderly
To rest, his requiem the artillery.

by John William Streets
22nd-Jun-2016 01:00 am - John William Streets, 'Comrades'
Duath
Comrades

Those whom I've known, admired, ardently friended
Lie silent there wrapp'd in a soldier's shroud;
Death broke their dreams, their aspirations ended,
These sanguine youth, noble, brave and proud.

Slowly they bear them 'neath the dim star light
Unto their rest-the soldiers' cemetery:
The chaplain chants a low, brief litany;
The nightingale flings rapture on the night.

Back to their Mother Earth this night return
Unnumbered youth along the far-flung line;
But 'tis for these my eyes with feeling burn,
That Memory doth erect a fadeless shrine-
For these I've known, admired, ardently friended
Stood by when Death their love, their youth swift ended.

by John William Streets
21st-Jun-2016 12:00 am - Ivor Gurney, 'To Certain Comrades'
Duath
To Certain Comrades
(E.S. and J.H.)


Living we loved you, yet withheld our praises
Before your faces;

And though we had your spirits high in honour,
After the English manner

We said no word. Yet, as such comrades would,
You understood.

Such friendship is not touched by death's disaster,
But stands the faster;

And all the shocks and trials of time cannot
Shake it one jot.

Beside the fire at night some far December
We shall remember

And tell men, unbegotten as yet, the story
Of your sad glory -

Of your plain strength, your truth of heart, your splendid
Coolness, all ended!

All ended, . . . yet the aching hearts of lovers
Joy overcovers,

Glad in their sorrow; hoping that if they must
Come to the dust,

An ending such as yours may be their portion,
And great good fortune -

That if we may not live to serve in peace
England, watching increase -

Then death with you, honoured and swift, and high;
And so - Not Die

By Ivor Gurney

E.S. and J.H. are Privates Ernest Skillern and John Hall, who served alongside Gurney in the 2/5 Gloucesters, and who were killed in action on 20th and 21st June 1916, respectively.
20th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - Carrie Underwood, 'Just A Dream'
Duath
Just A Dream

It was two weeks after the day she turned eighteen
All dressed in white
Going to the church that night
She had his box of letters in the passenger seat
Sixpence in a shoe, something borrowed, something blue
And when the church doors opened up wide
She put her veil down
Trying to hide the tears
Oh she just couldn't believe it
She heard the trumpets from the military band
And the flowers fell out of her hand

Baby why'd you leave me
Why'd you have to go?
I was counting on forever, now I'll never know
I can't even breathe
It's like I'm looking from a distance
Standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream


The preacher man said let us bow our heads and pray
Lord please lift his soul, and heal this hurt
Then the congregation all stood up and sang the saddest song that she ever heard
Then they handed her a folded up flag
And she held on to all she had left of him
Oh, and what could have been
And then the guns rang one last shot
And it felt like a bullet in her heart

Baby why'd you leave me
Why'd you have to go?
I was counting on forever, now I'll never know
I can't even breathe
It's like I'm looking from a distance
Standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream


By Carrie Underwood

19th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - Paper Lace, 'Billy, Don't Be A Hero'
Duath
Billy, Don't Be A Hero

The marchin' band came down along main street
The soldier blues fell in behind
I looked across and there I saw Billy
Waiting to go and join the line

And with her head upon his shoulder
His young and lovely fiancee
From where I stood I saw she was cryin'
And through her tears I heard her say

Billy don't be a hero, don't be a fool with your life
Billy don't be a hero, come back and make me your wife
And as Billy started to go, she said keep your pretty head low
Billy don't be a hero, come back to me


The soldier blues were trapped on a hillside
The battle ragin' all around
The sergeant cried, we've gotta hang on boys
We've gotta hold this piece of ground

I need a volunteer to ride out
And bring us back some extra men
And Billy's hand was up in a moment
Forgettin' all the words she said, she said

Billy don't be a hero, don't be a fool with your life
Billy don't be a hero, come back and make me your wife
And as Billy started to go, she said keep your pretty head low
Billy don't be a hero, come back to me


I heard his fiancee got a letter
That told how Billy died that day
The letter said he was a hero
She should be proud he died that way
I heard she threw the letter away

By 'Paper Lace'

18th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - Loretta Lynn, 'Dear Uncle Sam'
Duath
Dear Uncle Sam

Dear Uncle Sam
I know you're a busy man
And tonight, I write to you
Through tears with a trembling hand

My darling answered
When he got that call from you
You said you really need him
But you don't need him like I do

Don't misunderstand
I know he's fighting for our land
I really love my country
But I also love my man

He proudly wears the colors
Of the old red, white and blue
While I wear a heartache
Since he left me for you

{Dear Uncle Sam
I just got your telegram
And I can't believe that this is me
Shaking like I am
For it said, "I'm sorry to inform you"}

By Loretta Lynn

17th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - Alfred Noyes, 'On The Western Front'
Duath
On The Western Front
(1916)


I

I found a dreadful acre of the dead,
Marked with the only sign on earth that saves.
The wings of death were hurrying overhead,
The loose earth shook on those unquiet graves;

For the deep gun-pits, with quick stabs of flame,
Made their own thunders of the sunlit air;
Yet, as I read the crosses, name by name,
Rank after rank, it seemed that peace was there;

Sunlight and peace, a peace too deep for thought,
The peace of tides that underlie our strife,
The peace with which the moving heavens are fraught,
The peace that is our everlasting life.

The loose earth shook. The very hills were stirred.
The silence of the dead was all I heard.

II

We, who lie here, have nothing more to pray.
To all your praises we are deaf and blind.
We may not ever know if you betray
Our hope, to make earth better for mankind.

Only our silence, in the night, shall grow
More silent, as the stars grow in the sky;
And, while you deck our graves, you shall not know
How many scornful legions pass you by.

For we have heard you say (when we were living)
That some small dream of good would “cost too much.”
But when the foe struck, we have watched you giving,
And seen you move the mountains with one touch.

What can be done, we know. But, have no fear!
If you fail now, we shall not see or hear.

by Alfred Noyes
Duath
This Place Called War

Ed never cries;
I hear him crying in his bed.
Tomorrow he leaves, his day is near.
His tears, against everything he said
about this place called War,
where women and children, like me,
are saved from monsters.
He stood tall when he told us,
brave as he patted my head
and told me to have trust
in the soldiers to come again -
to come home again?

Might he not come home from War?

Ed never cries.
Mom and I are crying for him.
His back all packed, his day is here,
But Ed looks really scared.
He's not tall and brave anymore; like us,
he's afraid of the monsters.
He picks me up and squeezes,
won't let go of me.
He cries and hugs, and holds on tight.
What if I let him go?
If I let him go...

Will he come home from War?

By Joanna "Joey" Carman
In Loving Memory of SSG Edward W. Carman
Nov. 1976-Apr.2004 - US Army, 2/12 Cavalry
15th-Jun-2016 12:00 am - Leonard Cohen, 'There Is A War'
Duath
There Is A War

There is a war between the rich and poor,
a war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
and the ones who say there isn't.

Why don't you come on back to the war, that's right, get in it,
why don't you come on back to the war, it's just beginning.

Well I live here with a woman and a child,
the situation makes me kind of nervous.
Yes, I rise up from her arms, she says "I guess you call this love";
I call it service.

Why don't you come on back to the war, don't be a tourist,
why don't you come on back to the war, before it hurts us,
why don't you come on back to the war, let's all get nervous.

You cannot stand what I've become,
you much prefer the gentleman I was before.
I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control,
I didn't even know there was a war.

Why don't you come on back to the war, don't be embarrassed,
why don't you come on back to the war, you can still get married.

There is a war between the rich and poor,
a war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the left and right,
a war between the black and white,
a war between the odd and the even.

Why don't you come on back to the war, pick up your tiny burden,
why don't you come on back to the war, let's all get even,
why don't you come on back to the war, can't you hear me speaking?

By Leonard Cohen

Duath
She held her hand out for me

"And there's no light to see the voices by;
There is no time to ask - he knows not what."
--Wilfred Owen


She held her hand out for me,
a dream I did not want to end,

her path and mine refused to cross
before the great call to arms,

I, deep within myself, knew that it
was highly unfair for her to marry a man burnt as badly
I was, for no matter how many decoration and ribbons placed upon my chest,

the flesh left over from a blast in the direction
of my hurling body,

I saved three white boys from dying,
yet, when I came to Magnolia Sweets,

I could not watch the movie shows downstairs with
the white man,
I was directed by guards to the balcony,

when I took a job mopping floors at that Richmond hospital,
they complained that my looks scared off the patients
and their families,

so I was switched to the midnight shift,
quiet,
I saw her, my first love,

holding the hands of one of those men I'd saved,
incidentally, as a matter of fact,

neither recognized me underneath a new face
the VA had given me,

passing right in front of me,
there was nothing more I could offer either
of them,

changing my mop water,
I punched out for the night,

walking into the cold Richmond air,
heading home,

riding the bus, at the back, I stood
letting the white ladies have my seat,

there are no thank you's for those of us
cursed with this hideous dress,

our only salvation
perhaps, is to realize,

that even a point blank wound
does not change the color of a man
skin,

enough to be treated like a warrior
in need of a woman who loves him
in spite of himself.

By William "Wild Bill" Taylor
June, 2003
13th-Jun-2016 12:00 am - Rudyard Kipling, 'The Verdicts'
Duath
The Verdicts
(Jutland)


Not in the thick of the fight,
Not in the press of the odds,
Do the heroes come to their height,
Or we know the demi-gods.

That stands over till peace.
We can only perceive
Men returned from the seas,
Very grateful for leave.

They grant us sudden days
Snatched from their business of war;
But we are too close to appraise
What manner of men they are.

And, whether their names go down
With age-kept victories,
Or whether they battle and drown
Unreckoned, is hid from our eyes.

They are too near to be great,
But our children shall understand
When and how our fate
Was changed, and by whose hand.

Our children shall measure their worth.
We are content to be blind
But we know that we walk on a new-born earth
With the saviours of mankind.

by Rudyard Kipling
12th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - SheDaisy, 'Come Home Soon'
Duath
Come Home Soon

I put away the groceries
And I take my daily bread
I dream of your arms around me
As I tuck the kids in bed

I don't know what you're doin'
And I don't know where you are
But I look up at that great big sky
And I hope you're wishin' on that same
bright star

I wonder, I pray

And I sleep alone
I cry alone
And it's so hard livin' here on my own
So please, come home soon
(Come home soon)


I know that we're together
Even though we're far apart
And I'll wear our lucky penny 'round my neck
Pressed to my heart

I wonder, I pray

And I sleep alone
I cry alone
And it's so hard livin' here on my own
So please, come home soon
(Come home soon)


I still imagine your touch
It's beautiful missing something that much
But sometimes love needs a fighting chance
So I'll wait my turn until it's our turn to dance

I wonder, I pray

I sleep alone
I cry alone
Without you this house is not a home
So please, come home soon

I walk alone
I try alone
I'll wait for you, don't want to die alone
So please, come home soon


Come home soon
Come home soon

By 'SheDaisy'

11th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - Kurt Tucholsky, 'Helmet Off'
Duath
Helmet Off

There the large Pickelhaube lies
In a black, dark hole in the earth.
It rests quietly…But look, I believe
That it is still moving.

A District President displays his large teeth
“Must I recite mocking poetry at the grave?
De mortuis nil nisi bene! “
As it happened.

Do not forget them: the chevaliers,
The officers who sat on their wealth at home
The young one is playing the zither of complaint –
All of them beasts.

Helmet off!
Full of piety? Yes, full of cakes.
He lies on well-deserved dungheap.
We must first of all curse the old
And then look for good new ones to curse
Until he has decomposed.

By Kurt Tucholsky
Translated by Peter Appelbaum
10th-Jun-2016 01:00 am - A. L. Jenkins, 'Outposts'
Duath
Outposts
(Aden 1916)


When the moonlit shadows creep,
When the sun beats pitiless down,
Steadfast, vigilant they keep
Watch and ward about the town.

Guardians of an Empire's gate,
In the sunshine and the dust
Still beside their guns they wait,
Faithful to their weary trust.

Not for them the hero's cross,
Not for them the hero's grave,
Thrill of victory, pain of loss,
Praise of those they fell to save.

Only days of monotone,
Sand and fever, flies and fret,
All unheeded and unknown,
Little thanks they're like to get.

Yet mayhap in after-days
- Distant eye the clearer sees -
Gods apportioning the praise
Shall be kindly unto these.

by A. L. Jenkins

Battle of Mecca, June 10, 1916
9th-Jun-2016 12:00 am - Stanley Kunitz, 'Night Letter'
Duath
Night Letter (excerpt)

Violence shakes my dreams; I am so cold,
Chilled by the persecuting wind abroad,
The oratory of the rodent's tooth,
The slaughter of the blue-eyed open towns,
And principle disgraced, and art denied.
My dear, is it too late for peace, too late
For men to gather at the wells to drink
The sweet water; too late for fellowship
and laughter at the forge; too late for us
To say, "Let us be good to one another"?
The lamps go singly out; the valley sleeps;
I tend the last light shining on the farms
And keep for you the thought of love alive,
As scholars dungeoned in an ignorant age
Tended the embers of the Trojan fire.
Cities shall suffer siege and some shall fall,
But man's not taken. What the deep heart means,
Its message of the big, round, childish hand,
Its wonder, its simple lonely cry,
The bloodied envelope addressed to you,
Is history, that wide and mortal pang.

by Stanley Kunitz
8th-Jun-2016 12:00 am - Robert Bridges, 'Lord Kitchener'
Duath
Lord Kitchener

Unflinching hero, watchful to foresee
And face thy country’s peril wheresoe’er,
Directing war and peace with equal care,
Till by long duty ennobled thou wert he
Whom England call’d and bade “Set my arm free
To obey my will and save my honour fair,”—
What day the foe presumed on her despair
And she herself had trust in none but thee:

Among Herculean deeds the miracle
That mass’d the labour of ten years in one
Shall be thy monument. Thy work was done
Ere we could thank thee; and the high sea swell
Surgeth unheeding where thy proud ship fell
By the lone Orkneys, at the set of sun.

By Robert Bridges
June 8, 1916


Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, died June 5, 1916
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