Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Green Fields of France

I've never paid much attention to the Dropkick Murphys. I mean, I have nothing against them at all, but I just never really paid them much mind.

Which is why I had no clue about this song's existence until this past Memorial Day Weekend, when my brother Jeff introduced me to it. They didn’t write it—it was written in 1976 by Eric Bogle—but they seem to have recorded one of the better known versions of it in 2005. Anyway this is the version he introduced me to. And now I just can’t stop listening to it. Thanks Jeff. Bastard.

And it stands to me as one of the more poignant anti-war songs I have heard. Interesting in how it focuses on a long, long ago war (World War I, known as "The War To End All Wars") and presents it as a basis to ask questions about not only why we fight, but who does the fighting and what impact does it all have. And like all of the best anti-war songs, it has an air of timelessness to it despite the specificity of some of the lyrics.

The sun's shining down on these green fields of France,
The warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished long under the plow,
No gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now.

But here in this graveyard that's still no mans land,
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man,
And a whole generation were butchered and damned.

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