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Posted: 07-Nov-2004, 07:17 PM
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Here's one I love. Pity it never stops being relevant.

Christmas in the Trenches
(John McCutcheon)


My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.

'Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung
Our families back in England were toasting us that day
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, ``Now listen up, me boys!'' each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.

``He's singing bloody well, you know!'' my partner says to me
Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war

As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
``God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen'' struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was ``Stille Nacht.'' ``Tis `Silent Night','' says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky

``There's someone coming toward us!'' the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one long figure trudging from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shown on that plain so bright
As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night

Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's Land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell

We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeezebox and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wonderous night
``Whose family have I fixed within my sights?''

'Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore

My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same

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Posted: 25-Oct-2007, 03:06 AM
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the field of Bannockburn 1314

Scottish Dawn © Ted Christopher1997

This is my land, I stand beside my brothers,
Each man here to face this day of destiny.
We answered The Bruce, not for greed and not for gain
We fight only to be free

For days I have walked across the moorland
Leaving far behind the glen where I was born
And a frightened crying woman carrying my child
I trust in God that I will live to hold my son

This day brings a Scottish dawn
And freedom is the right of every man
We give our all here today, so our children can say
This is our land and we are Scotland’s sons

Now we will face this hour together.
We may fear, but we will never run
We will pay the cost though many good friends will be lost
Tomorrow, our flag will fly again

On this Coxet Hill we gathered to the saltire
When we are long gone, our sons of sons will say
“They stood behind The Bruce not for greed and not for gain
but on this Borestone field they died that we be free”

so if we die here today, we die for Scotland’s sons.
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Posted: 25-Oct-2007, 08:11 PM
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Alot of Celtic Bands in Wisconsin seem to play this one. Originally done by Battlefield band it is still one of my favorites.
The Beaches of St. Valerie

) It was in 1940, the last days of Spring.
We were sent to the Maginot line,
A fortress in France, built to halt the advance,
Of an army from a different time.
But we were soon overrun, out-thought and outgunned.
Pushed further back every day.
But we never believed high command would just leave us.
So we fought every step of the way

2) 'Til the 51st Highlanders found themselves on
The banks of the Somme one more time.
It still bore the scars of that war to end wars.
The old soldier’s scars deep in their minds.
But we didn’t stay long for the Panzers rolled on
As the battle raged west t’wards the sea,
Until on June the 10th when sapped of all strength
We entered St. Valery

And all I recall is the last boat leavin’!
My brother on board waving and calling to me
And the Jocks stranded there wi’ his hands in the air
On the beaches of St. Valery

3) So I huddled all night in a hammered old house
As the shells and the bullets rained down
‘Til just before dawn our hopes were still strong
For we moved to the beach from the town
But the boat that had left on the day we arrived
Was the last one that we’d ever see
An’ with no ammo or food we had done all we could
Se we surrendered at St. Valery


4) When I returned at the end of the war,
From the Stalag where I’d been confined,
I read of the battles the allies had fought,
Stalingrad, Alamein, and the Rhine.
And with pride in their hearts people spoke of Dunkirk
Where defeat had become victory
But nobody mentioned that Highland Division.
They’d never heard of St.Valery

5) No stories no statues for those that were killed.
No honors for those who were gone.
Just a deep sense of shame as though we were to blame,
Though I knew in my heart we were not.
So I’ve moved to a country I’ve come to call home
But my homeland lies far o’er the sea.
I will never return while my memory still burns
On the beaches of St. Valery.

Unavoidably Detained by the World

"Irishness is not primary a question of birth or blood or language; it is the condition on being involved in the Irish situation, and usually of being mauled by it."-Conor Cruise O'Brien

Pour mouth to mouth
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Posted: 20-Jan-2008, 12:39 PM
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Some of you have already seen this but for those of you who haven't here is
a song that was written by Clann An Drummas founder Joe Kilna Mackenzie.

"SGT MACKENZIE" by Joe Kilna Mackenzie
The story of Sgt MacKenzie

Charles Stuart MacKenzie was a Sergeant in the Seaforth Highlanders. He went to fight in France during World War One and was shot in the shoulder, the military sent him home to Scotland for treatment, where the surgeon wanted to amputate his arm. He immediately refused, stating that he had to get back to his men. During his time in hospital he was asked what it was like to kill 'the hun' (as the Germans where called then). He replied what a waste of a fine body of men. On the steps of the hospital, the last picture of him was taken in his uniform. This picture hung in his home above the fireplace. On his return to battle, he and his men were engaged in fixed bayonet combat. To the best of my knowledge, and taken from reports of the returning soldiers - one of his close friends fell, badly wounded. Charles stood his ground and fought until he was overcome and died from bayonet wounds. On that day, my Great Grandmother and my Grandmother where sitting at the fire when the picture fell from the wall. My Great Grandmother looked, and said to my Grandmother "oh, my bonnie Charlie's dead." Sure enough a few days passed, then the local policeman brought the news - that Sgt. Charles Stuart MacKenzie had been killed in action. This same picture now hangs above my fireplace. A few years back my wife Christine died of cancer, and in my grief I looked at his picture to ask what gave him the strength to go on. It was then, in my mind, that I saw him lying on the field and wondered what his final thoughts were. The words and music just appeared into my head. I believe the men and woman like yourself who are prepared to stand their ground for their family - for their friends - and for their country; deserve to be remembered, respected and honoured. Sgt. MacKenzie, is my very small tribute to them. After Sgt. Mackenzie was first released on our Tried and True CD Album in 2000, a copy of the song made it's way to the hands of Hollywood director, Randall Wallace and actor Mel Gibson. Immediately they both agreed that Sgt. MacKenzie should feature prominently in their upcoming movie "We Were Soldiers." The rest, as they say - is history !

Joe Kilna MacKenzie

Scots Tongue
Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun
Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun

When they come a wull staun ma groon
Staun ma groon al nae be afraid

Thoughts awe hame tak awa ma fear
Sweat an bluid hide ma veil awe tears

Ains a year say a prayer faur me
Close yir een an remember me

Nair mair shall a see the sun
For a fell tae a Germans gun

Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun
Lay me doon in the caul caul groon
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun
Whaur afore monie mair huv gaun
English Translation
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone

When they come I will stand my ground
Stand my ground I'll not be afraid

Thoughts of home take away my fear
Sweat and blood hide my veil of tears

Once a year say a prayer for me
Close your eyes and remember me

Never more shall I see the sun
For I fell to a Germans gun

Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Where before many more have gone

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  Posted: 09-Feb-2008, 05:40 PM
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It's actually a poem, but you can sing it:

The Pipes at Lucknow

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)

PIPES of the misty moorlands,
Voice of the glens and hills;
The droning of the torrents,
The treble of the rills!
Not the braes of bloom and heather, 5
Nor the mountains dark with rain,
Nor maiden bower, nor border tower,
Have heard your sweetest strain!

Dear to the Lowland reaper,
And plaided mountaineer,— 10
To the cottage and the castle
The Scottish pipes and dear;—
Sweet sounds the ancient pibroch
O’er mountain, loch, and glade;
But the sweetest of all music 15
The pipes at Lucknow played.

Day by day the Indian tiger
Louder yelled, and nearer crept;
Round and round the jungle-serpent
Near and nearer circles swept. 20
‘Pray for rescue, wives and mothers,—
Pray to-day!’ the soldier said;
‘To-morrow, death’s between us
And the wrong and shame we dread.’

Oh, they listened, looked, and waited, 25
Till their hope became despair;
And the sobs of low bewailing
Filled the pauses of their prayer.
Then up spake a Scottish maiden,
With her ear unto the ground: 30
‘Dinna ye hear it?—dinna ye hear it?
The pipes o’ Havelock sound!’

Hushed the wounded man his groaning;
Hushed the wife her little ones;
Alone they heard the drum-roll 35
And the roar of Sepoy guns.
But to sounds of home and childhood
The Highland ear was true;—
As her mother’s cradle-crooning
The mountain pipes she knew. 40

Like the march of soundless music
Through the vision of the seer,
More of feeling than of hearing,
Of the heart than of the ear,
She knew the droning pibroch, 45
She knew the Campbell’s call:
‘Hark! hear ye no MacGregor’s,
The grandest o’ them all!’

Oh, they listened, dumb and breathless,
And they caught the sound at last; 50
Faint and far beyond the Goomtee
Rose and fell the piper’s blast!
Then a burst of wild thanksgiving
Mingled woman’s voice and man’s;
‘God be praised!—the march of Havelock! 55
The piping of the clans!’

Louder, nearer, fierce as vengeance,
Sharp and shrill as swords at strife,
Came the wild MacGregor’s clan-call,
Stinging all the air to life. 60
But when the far-off dust-cloud
To plaided legions grew,
Full tenderly and blithesomely
The pipes of rescue blew!

Round the silver domes of Lucknow, 65
Moslem mosque and Pagan shrine,
Breathed the air to Britons dearest,
The air of Auld Lang Syne.
O’er the cruel roll of war-drums
Rose that sweet and homelike strain; 70
And the tartan clove the turban,
As the Goomtee cleaves the plain.

Dear to the corn-land reaper
And plaided mountaineer,—
To the cottage and the castle 75
The piper’s song is dear.
Sweet sounds the Gaelic pibroch
O’er mountain, glen, and glade;
But the sweetest of all music
The pipes at Lucknow played! 80

And, of course, Sinead O'Connor's The Foggy Dew (my favorite version- you can really hear the emotion in her voice)

As down the glen one Easter morn
To a city fair rode I,
There armed lines of marching men
In squadrons passed me by.
No pipe did hum, no battle drum
Did sound its loud tattoo
But the Angelus' bells o'er the Liffey swells
Rang out in the foggy dew.

Right proudly high in Dublin town
Hung they out a flag of war.
'Twas better to die 'neath an Irish sky
Than at Suvla or Sud el Bar.
And from the plains of Royal Meath
Strong men came hurrying through;
While Brittania's Huns with their long-range guns
Sailed in through the foggy dew.

The bravest fell, and the requiem bell
Rang mournfully and clear
For those who died that Easter-tide
In the springing of the year.
While the world did gaze with deep amaze
At those fearless men but few
Who bore the fight that freedom's light
Might shine through the foggy dew.

And back through the glen I rode again
And my heart with grief was sore
For I parted then with valiant men
Whom I never shall see more
But to and fro
In my dreams I go
And I kneel and pray for you
For slavery fled
Oh, glorious dead
When you fell in the foggy dew

Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul
And ancient Ireland knew it all.

" To a Scot, the past clings like sand to wet feet,
and is carried about as a burden.
The many ghosts are always a part of them, inescapable."
Geddes MacGregor

Hope, fear, false-joy, and trouble,
Are these four winds which daily toss this bubble,
His breath’s a vapour, and his life’s a span;
Tis glorious misery to be born a man.
~ from a Cornish gravestone

"Now I perceive the devil understands Welsh.”
"God defend me from that Welsh fairy,
Lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!”
William Shakespeare quotes

"Onen hag Oll", One and All (Cornwall's motto)
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