Lyrics, licks and lies, lies, lies

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Ballad of Seamus Finnan

Well there was a young man, Seamus Finnan by name,
Who went off to war, O, to play the great game.
Now it wasn't the blood and it wasn't the fire,
But his heart it was broke by a night on the wire.

Well, it wasn't for Belgium, it wasn't for France.
It wasn't for England he entered that dance.
It was all for the love of a sweet Irish lass,
That he marched through the muck and the guns and the gas.

Tis a hard thing is life, tis a hard thing indeed.
And it's easy to die, cause it's sorer to bleed.
But tis hardest of all for the last man to stand,
Looking down at yer pal's all across No Man's Land.

See, Anna his sweet had a brother called Tom,
And he tapped his feet to the beat of the drum.
With his Trinity pals he got wild in the pub.
And they took the King's Shilling and signed with the Dub's.

Now Seamus was hurt to see Anna so sad,
So he swore to her then to look after the lad.
And he picked up his kit and he followed young Tom.
Yes, he followed the boy all the way to the Somme.

Tis a hard thing is life, tis a hard thing indeed.
And it's easy to die, cause it's sorer to bleed.
But tis hardest of all for the last man to stand,
Looking down at yer pal's all across No Man's Land.

O, Tommy’s heart shook to the sound of the guns
Yes, they rattled his soul, and so Thomas he runs
But the young English captain -- they called him Mad Jack --
Well he sends out the redcaps to drag the boy back.

Through the muck and the mire, and the blood and the tears
They brought him to Seamus to settle his fears
So he tried as he might to knock sense in the lad
But the guns carried on and poor Tom was still mad

Tis a hard thing is life, tis a hard thing indeed.
And it's easy to die, cause it's sorer to bleed.
But tis hardest of all for the last man to stand,
Looking down at yer pal's all across No Man's Land.

O, Seamus, says Tom, I have seen what’s beyond.
There’s a river that runs clear and deep through the Somme,
And across that wide river, the wonders I’ve seen,
For across that wide river the grass is so green.

Then Seamus he pleaded as hard as he grieved,
But the captain said no, there would be no reprieve.
So the pals they drew straws and they blindfolded Tom,
Then they took that young lad and they shot him at dawn

Tis a hard thing is life, tis a hard thing indeed.
And it's easy to die, cause it's sorer to bleed.
But tis hardest of all for the last man to stand,
Looking down at yer pal's all across No Man's Land.

Now whisky and sorrow, they go hand-in-hand
A fire in your guts that can force you to stand
As Seamus he did then, with Tom’s own tin mug
Pouring out for the lads from the captain’s own jug

He roared of MacDonough and he roared of MacBride,
And of how many more Irish sons were to die,
For the freedom of nations as small as their own,
For the glory of England, the crown and the throne?

Tis a hard thing is life, tis a hard thing indeed.
And it's easy to die, cause it's sorer to bleed.
But tis hardest of all for the last man to stand,
Looking down at yer pal's all across No Man's Land.

O, he woke up in irons, all black and all blue
Where the redcaps had beat him for speaking the truth.
With a curse in his mouth for the violence and might,
Well, Seamus he swore then, no more would he fight

‘Ah but England forgives you this drunken mistake’
Says the captain to Seamus, but it’s not why he breaks.
No fear of the bullet, no fear of the drop,
But tomorrow the boys will go over the top.

Tis a hard thing is life, tis a hard thing indeed.
And it's easy to die, cause it's sorer to bleed.
But tis hardest of all for the last man to stand,
Looking down at yer pal's all across No Man's Land.

Then the guns they fell quiet and the pistol it spoke,
And together they charged full of fear and of hope,
And Seamus there with them, as they fell one by one,
In a battle he knew that could never be won.

O, he thought he was blessed as he walked through the fire.
But Seamus was cursed to get caught on the wire,
All twisted and turned to see what lay below
O, the lads and their limbs, O, the corpses and crows

Tis a hard thing is life, tis a hard thing indeed.
And it's easy to die, cause it's sorer to bleed.
But tis hardest of all for the last man to stand,
Looking down at yer pal's all across No Man's Land.

O, there was a young man, Seamus Finnan by name,
Who went off to war, O, to play the great game.
And it wasn't the fire and it wasn't the blood,
But his heart it was broke by what lay in the mud.

Tis a hard thing is life, tis a hard thing indeed.
And it's easy to die, cause it's sorer to bleed.
But tis hardest of all for the last man to stand,
Looking down at yer pal's all across No Man's Land.

12 Comments:

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Blogger Brian Malone said...

wowfuckingWOW. And I happen to have a friend writing a story that begins from the POV of a man hanging on the wire in No-Man's Land. I'm gonna like her to this.

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2:11 PM

 
Blogger Brian Malone said...

Shit, you fucker! I happened to find this poem before I read Vellum. Imagine the shock and sheer joy of recognition when I came across Finnan (double entendre?? you decide) and realized about Thomas. You devious fuxking brilliant bastard. Well done! I'm a goddamned fan you scottish prick.

2:46 AM

 
Blogger LadyLuck said...

I love the poem and I love vellum :) Cheers Hal.

Tara.
New Zealand

11:54 PM

 
Blogger drake220 said...

honestly i didn't want to read Vellum. Wasn't my type of premise. However after reading this poem/song, as soon as i get home tonight I am going to the library and getting that book. Your writing just blew me away.

7:18 PM

 
Blogger drake220 said...

honestly i didn't want to read Vellum. Wasn't my type of premise. However after reading this poem/song, as soon as i get home tonight I am going to the library and getting that book. Your writing just blew me away.

7:18 PM

 
Blogger drake220 said...

honestly i didn't want to read Vellum- it just isn't my type of premise. However after reading this poem/song, as soon as i get home tonight I am going to the library and getting that book. Your writing just blew me away.

7:18 PM

 
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I just finished "Ink" and, bereft of my loves (all 7 of them), I hit the keyboard in search of more you.

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8:21 PM

 
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8:26 AM

 
Blogger agnieszka said...

well, you've just added vellum to my reading list. have to put an order in... been singing the ballad to myself while reading. a bit of cherry infusion put me in the mood... all organic, i assure you.

6:55 PM

 

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