Thursday, June 01, 2017

My Father Was a Soldier (A Song About War)

I wrote the chorus about two years ago, the rest of the song fell into place last summer.  It's based on an actual event: One of my students at U of  Alberta in 1965/66 came to say goodbye when he got his draft card. "Over there" is Vietnam. Lois Jones has set it to music, but I haven't heard it yet. [Copyright 2016 Wolf Kirchmeir]
My father was a soldier,
and my grandpa, too;
they went to war to save the world.
What good did that do? O my,
What good did that do?

There was a boy, he came up north,
to get away from war.
He got his card, and came to me,
“Sir, I have to go.”
“You can stay here and live in peace.”
“My brother’s over there,
I have to leave, I can’t stay here,
so it’s goodbye, Sir.”

My father was a soldier,
and my grandpa, too;
they went to war to save the world.
What good did that do? O my,
What good did that do?

Oh, look at me, the hero says,
I’ll fight to my last breath.
When bones bleach white in the noonday sun,
The one who wins is Death.
[instrumental bridge]

My father was a soldier,
and my grandpa, too;
they went to war to save the world.
What good did that do? O my,
What good did that do?

Homer knew that war is hell,
he told it like it was,
the spear that split the Trojan’s throat,
the blood that stained the dust.
But the tale he told was already old,
though each war makes it new.
We learn the story, sing the songs,
and don’t know what to do.

My father was a soldier,
and my grandpa, too;
they went to war to save the world.
What good did that do? O my,
What good did that do?
We learn the story, sing the songs,
and don’t know what to do.

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