Northern Ireland 1968


Originally written as a "protest song".

A young man is polishing his rifle,
The gun he used to kill another man.
A man he left lying on the pavement,
A man who could never understand
Why children are throwing stones at soldiers
Who can't do very much in return.
While their parents are marching down to Bogside,
What can they expect their kids to learn?

A Protestant is sitting in his kitchen,
Television volume turned down low
While trembling hands are finishing a timebomb,
To kill or maim who? - he doesn't know.
And a Catholic is organising marches,
Holding in his hand an iron rod
And he says that he is going to get a Proddy,
All in the name of peace and God.

Ministers are standing on their corners,
Each one preaching violence in his turn.
And blind men will follow where they lead them,
Surely someday somebody must learn
That murder can never be the answer -
Even if you're right, to kill is wrong
And flowers weren't meant for the graveside,
Nor gunfire meant to hide the blackbird's song.

History repeats its royal pattern
While hate and murder wear the bloody crown,
And while everyone looks up towards the future -
Religion's always there to drag us down.

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the above work is copyright David Axton © All Rights Reserved