NaPoWriMo # 18 – An Anti War Song Cycle – OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

“Our Little Soldier” – Twelve song cycle about the futility, agony and ubiquity of war. I hope to record this as an album at some time and also do a couple of performances of it with a few friends.

CONTENTS

1) INTRODUCTION

2) OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

3) BECOME A CADET

4) MEETING MARIA

5) DON’T VOLUNTEER

6) SERGEANT MAJOR GRANDAD

7) THE CHILDREN IN THE QUEUE

8) DYING FOR LOVE

9) SIGNING UP TODAY

10) ALWAYS COMING HOME

11) BOMBARDIER

12) SON

A SOLDIER’S LIFE FROM CHILDHOOD TO DEATH.

1) INTRODUCTION

Open with laid back funereal music playing

Two women standing in the street watching the family leave a house for a funeral, they start talking:-

1st Woman – It’s such a shame ain’t it?  He was only just turned twenty.

2nd Woman – I know that’s no age at all really.  He was such a good looking boy too, just like his dad.

1st Woman – I can still remember him when he was little, running around in that soldier suit that he got that Christmas when it snowed a lot.

2nd Woman – Yeah, I remember, he was mad for it, I suppose he was kind of destined to be in the Army.

1st Woman – Well it was a family thing I believe, soldiering goes back generations with his family.

2nd Woman – It’s his mother and his girlfriend I feel sorry for.

1st Woman – I know, it seems such a terrible waste of a life……

2nd Woman – They’re leaving now for the funeral, I best be off, see you later.

1st Woman – Yes OK…………see you later………

Music fades as cars start and drive away.

Copyright: Harry Rogers – 1/04/2012

2) OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

IT WAS XMAS MORNING

THE SUN SPARKLED ON THE SNOW

HE WAS FIVE YEARS OLD

THE PILLOW CASE WAS BULGING

AT THE END OF HIS BED

WITH THE BRIGHT WRAPPED PRESENTS

HE WAS SO EXCITED

COULD HARLDY WAIT TO OPEN THEM

HIS MOTHER HAD THE IDEA

WHILST SHE WAS SHOPPING DOWNTOWN

IN THE NEWSAGENT WINDOW

THEY WERE DISPLAYING TOYS FOR BOYS

A SIGN CAUGHT HER EYE

ALL YOU NEED FOR YOUR LITTLE SOLDIER

SHE WAS SO INSPIRED

ALL SHE COULD THINK OF WAS HE”S

OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

HE’S OUR LITTLE SOLDIER BOY

SHE GOT ALL THE FAMILY

TO BUY ALL THE DIFFERENT BITS OF KIT

SHE WRAPPED THEM UP

WHILST DRINKING WINE ON CHRISTMAS EVE

HER LITTLE SOLDIER

OPENED THEM ONE BY ONE BY ONE

THE BOOTS, THE HELMET

THE UNIFORM,  GRENADES AND THE GUN

HE DRESSED HIMSELF UP

AND RAN ON DOWN TO BREAKFAST

EVERYONE WAS LAUGHING

AS HE MARCHED ROUND AND ROUND THE ROOM

SALUTED EVERYBODY

WENT ON MANOUVRES ALL AROUND THE HOUSE

SHOOTING AT THE TV

CRAWLING AND HIDING, BLOWING UP THE DOG

AND HIS DAD SAID

THAT’S

OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

HE’S OUR LITTLE SOLDIER BOY

Copyright: Harry Rogers – 05/04/201

3) BECOME A CADET

FROM THE AGE OF EIGHT

OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

PLAYED VIDEO GAMES

STAYING UP TOO LATE

COMMAND AND CONQUER

HIS FAVOURITE REALM

HE RULED THE WORLD

WHEN HE TURNED TWELVE

ONE TIME HIS PAL KEVIN

CALLED BY HIS HOUSE

HE HAD THIS LEAFLET

PICTURING A YOUNG BOY

DRESSED UP IN KHAKI

WITH A FANCY BERET

AND A GOLDEN CAP BADGE

BIG YELLOW WORDS SAID

BECOME A CADET

BECOME A CADET

RIGHT THEN AND THERE

HE BECAME A CADET

HE LEARNED

HOW TO CLEAN A RIFLE

HOW TO READ A MAP

HOW FIRE A MORTAR

HOW TO DRIVE A CHAMP

HOW TO MAKE A BIVOUAC

HOW TO USE A COMPASS

HOW TO MARCH IN TIME

HOW TO MAKE HIS BOOTS SHINE

HOW TO PLAY THE PIPES AND DRUMS

HOW TO SEND A SIGNAL

HOW TO TIE A BANDAGE

AND HOW TO SHOOT A GUN

BECAME A CADET

BECAME A CADET

RIGHT THEN AND THERE

HE BECAME A CADET

Copyright: Harry Rogers – 06/04/2012

4) MEETING MARIA

AFTER SCHOOL ONE DAY

ON HIS WAY BACK FROM CHOIR

HE MET A GIRL HE’D SEEN BEFORE

BUT HE NEVER KNEW HER NAME

HE LOOKED IN HER EYES

AND SHE SMILED AT HIM

THEY AGREED TO MEET UP

LATER THAT EVENING

HE WAS DUE TO GO TO CADETS

BUT HE JUST HAD TO MEET HER

ON TOP OF PLUM PUDDING HILL

WHERE THE GRASS GROWS LONG

THEY SAT CLOSE TO EACH OTHER

SHE WAS HUMMING HER SONG

MEETING MARIA

HER NAME WAS MARIA

HE WAS MEETING MARIA

MEETING MARIA

SHE LIVED IN MERIDIAN FLATS

WITH HER FAMILY FROM CARDIFF

HER MUM WAS A VALLEYS GIRL

HER DAD A JAMAICAN SAILOR

ONE BROTHER, TWO SISTERS

SHE WAS CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE

HE LOVED HER STRAIGHT AWAY

STOPPED GOING TO CADETS

HIS LIFE WAS ALL CHANGED

SHE LAY BACK IN HIS ARMS

UPON PLUM PUDDING HILL

WHERE THE GRASS GROWS LONG

WITH HER JET BLACK HAIR

GENTLY HUMMING HER SONG

THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED

WAS MEETING MARIA

HER NAME WAS MARIA

ALWAYS MEETING MARIA

(COPYRIGHT: HARRY ROGERS: 01/05/2012)

 

5) DON’T VOLUNTEER (song of Maria)

JUST THE OTHER NIGHT

AS I HELD YOU TIGHT

YOU TOLD ME SOMETHING

THAT FILLED ME WITH FRIGHT

AND I CAN’T STOP THINKING

ABOUT HOW IT WOULD FEEL

TO BE LOSING YOU

HOW WOULD IT FEEL

TO BE LOSING YOU?

MY DARLING, MY DEAR

I NEED YOU HERE

HERE BY MY SIDE

I NEED YOU HERE

PLEASE DON’T LEAD

A SOLDIER’S LIFE

I DON’T WANT TO BE

AN ARMY WIFE

SAT IN THE HALL

NEXT TO THE PHONE

WAIT ON YOUR CALL

ALWAYS ALONE

MY DARLING, MY DEAR

I NEED YOU HERE

MY DARLING, MY DEAR

DON’T VOLUNTEER

I’M DOWN ON MY KNEES

I’M BEGGING YOU PLEASE

DON’T BE A BOMBARDIER

PLEASE DON’T VOLUNTEER

Copyright Harry Rogers – 19-04-2012

6) SERGEANT MAJOR GRANDAD

GRANDAD WAS A SERGEANT MAJOR

IN THE BRIGADE OF GUARDS

FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR 11

HAD A CHEST FULL OF MEDALS

SILVER CUPS FOR SHOOTING

PHOTOGRAPHS GALORE

OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

WAS THE APPLE OF HIS EYE

HIS ONLY SON HAD DIED

RUN DOWN BY A CAR

WHEN HE WAS JUST THIRTEEEN

OUR LITLLE SOLDIER TOOK HIS PLACE

SERGEANT MAJOR GRANDAD

HAD A DREAM

SERGEANT MAJOR GRANDAD

DREAMED HIS DREAM

HE TOLD SPECIAL STORIES

ABOUT BEING BRAVE

LOOKING OUT FOR BUDDIES

HOW TO DIG A GRAVE

RIDING CAMELS IN THE DESERT

DRINKING FOREIGN BEER

HIDING BEHIND IVY

WHILST THE ENEMY’S NEAR

SEEING THE WIDE WORLD

CONQUERING HIS FEAR

PLAYING POKEY DIE

WHEN THE MOON SHINES CLEAR

OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

LEARNED A LOT BY HIS SIDE

OUR LITTLE SOLDIER

WAS WITH HIM WHEN HE DIED

SERGEANT MAJOR GRANDAD

HAD A DREAM

SERGEANT MAJOR GRANDAD

DREAMED HIS DREAM

SERGEANT MAJOR GRANDAD

SAW A LITTLE SOLDIER DREAM

Copyright Harry Rogers – 08-05-2012

7) THE CHILDREN IN THE QUEUE

AFTER SERGEANT MAJOR GRANDAD DIED

HE DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL

JUST COULDN’T CONCENTRATE NO MORE

COULDN’T SEE THE POINT OF LEARNING

JUST SEVENTEEN AND SIGNING ON

LOOKING FOR ANY KIND OF JOB

THERE JUST WAS NOTHING OUT THERE

FOR AN UNTRAINED  MIXED UP KID

HE JOINED THOSE

CHILDREN IN THE QUEUE

NOTHING HE COULD DO

CHILDREN IN THE QUEUE

NOTHING THEY CAN DO

HE GOT A LADDER, SPONGE AND A BUCKET

TOLD THE DOLE THEY COULD FUCKIN’ CHUCK IT

HIM AND KEVIN SET UP WASHING WINDOWS

BLEW THEIR TAKINGS ON CIDER AND WEED

GOT SO STONED IT WAS HARD TO SUCCEED

SPENT THE WHOLE SUMMER LAYING IN THE PARK

ALL THEIR FRIENDS FROM SCHOOL JOINED THEM

FEEDING THEIR HEADS FROM MORNING TILL DARK

THEY WERE THE

CHILDREN IN THE QUEUE

WHAT ELSE COULD THEY DO

CHILDREN IN THE QUEUE

NOTHING THEY CAN DO

Copyright Harry Rogers – 11-05-2012

8) DYING FOR LOVE

MARIA AND HER FAMILY WENT AWAY

THEY MOVED BACK TO CARDIFF BAY

ON THEIR LAST NIGHT TOGETHER

BOTH OF THEM WERE CRYING

THE LAST TIME THEY HELD EACH OTHER

THE LAST TIME THEY LOVED EACH OTHER

WHEN HE GOT BACK HOME AGAIN

HE FELT LIKE HE WAS DYING

DYING FOR LOVE

DYING FOR LOVE

THIS WAS THE END

HE WAS DYING FOR LOVE

HIS PARENTS SAID THAT IT WAS FOR THE BEST

WERE GLAD SHE HAD MOVED OUT TO THE WEST

SO GLAD THAT SHE WASN’T COMING BACK

DIDN’T LIKE THE FACT THAT SHE WAS BLACK

THEY SAW THE WAY AHEAD SO CLEAR

THEIR BOY COULD START HIS NEW CAREER

HE KNEW THERE WAS NO WAY THAT HE COULD SEE HER

STILL HE WAS DYING FOR THE LOVE OF HIS MARIA

DYING FOR LOVE

DYING FOR LOVE

HE WAS DYING FOR LOVE

DYING FOR THE LOVE OF HIS MARIA

Copyright: Harry Rogers – 17th May 2012

9) JOINING UP TODAY

IN THE KITCHEN IN HIS DRESSING GOWN

WAITING FOR MUM AND DAD TO COME DOWN

PUT THE KETTLE ON MADE A POT OF TEA

TOLD THEM BOTH “NOW LISTEN TO ME

I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU’VE GOT TO SAY

Y’SEE I’VE JUST GOT TO GET AWAY

THERE AIN’T NO JOBS HERE ANYWAY

I CAN’T STAND THOSE GAMES YOU PLAY

NOT SINCE YOU TURNED MY GIRL AWAY

GRANDAD WINS I’M JOINING UP TODAY

JOINING UP, JOINING UP

I’M JOINING UP TODAY

JOINING UP, JOINING UP

I’LL GET A JOB WITH PAY

I’M JOINING UP TODAY

I’M JOINING UP TODAY

YOU TURNED MY GIRL AWAY

NOW I’M JOINING UP TODAY

Copyright: Harry Rogers 18th May 2012

 

10) ALWAYS COMING HOME

WHEN HE WENT AWAY TO TRAIN

HE WAS STILL A SOLDIER BOY

BUT THEN HE CAME BACK HOME

AS AN ARTILLERYMAN

THEN THEY SENT HIM OUT TO BASRA

WHERE HE DID AS HE WAS TOLD

DESTROYING STREETS AND BUILDINGS

THAT WERE HOMES TO YOUNG AND OLD

BUT HE WAS

ALWAYS COMING HOME

ALWAYS COMING HOME

HE TOLD HIS MOTHER

HE WAS ALWAYS COMING HOME

GOT A MESSAGE FROM MARIA

ASKING WHERE AND HOW HE WAS

HE WAS ON PATROL IN HELMAND

WHEN HER SPECIAl TEXT CAME IN

SHE SAID SHE HAD TO SEE HIM

WHEN HE CAME BACK HOME AGAIN

SHE MISSED HIM OH SO BADLY

SHE HAD NEVER KNOWN SUCH PAIN

HE SENT HER THIS MESSAGE

ALWAYS COMING HOME

ALWAYS COMING HOME

MARIA MY LOVE

I AM ALWAYS COMING HOME

Copyright: Harry Rogers May 24 2012

11) BOMBARDIER

OUR SOLDIER, CAUGHT OUT IN THE OPEN

TRAPPED BENEATH THE LIGHT OF THE FULL WHITE MOON

THE SWEAT, BREAKING ON HIS FOREHEAD

AS IF IT WERE THE SEARING HEAT OF NOON

THE FURROWS ARE DEEP, YELLOW MUD STICKS TO HIS BOOTS

HIS FEET ARE HEAVY AS HE RUNS FOR COVER

HE SEES A FLASH AS A SNIPER SHOOTS

HIS HEART IS POUNDING, HE’S THINKING OF HIS LOVER

BOMBARDIER, BOMBARDIER, OOH BOMBARDIER

OOH WHAT IN HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?

BOMBARDIER, BOMBARDIER, OOH BOMBARDIER

IF YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE AGAIN, WOULD YOU VOLUNTEER?

CAUGHT IN CROSSFIRE, HE GETS IT, FRONT AND BACK

LYING TWISTED ON THE GROUND HE HEARS HIS PULSE THUD THUD

THE MOON DISAPPEARS BEHIND CLOUDS SO BLACK

HE SEES MARIA’S FACE REFLECTED IN HIS BLOOD

SHE LOOKS SO LOVELY, CURLS TUMBLE ROUND HER FACE

SMILING, SERENELY, SHE ASKS HIM FOR A KISS,

BUT THE VISION FADES IN A RED RED GLAZE

AS WITH HIS DYING GASP HE PURSES HIS LIPS!!

BOMBARDIER, BOMBARDIER, OOH BOMBARDIER

OOH WHAT IN HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?

BOMBARDIER, BOMBARDIER, OOH BOMBARDIER

IF ONLY YOU’D LISTENED WHEN SHE SAID DON’T VOLUNTEER?

OOH BOMBARDIER

OOH OOH BOMBARDIER

OOH OOOOOOH BOM-BAR-DIER

Copyright: Harry Rogers, London 1981

 

12) SON

SON, AS I STAND HERE, ALL ALONE

LOOKING DOWN, UPON YOUR STONE

I REMEMBER PASSING OUT DAY

YOU’D GROWN SO TALL, AND OH SO BRAVE

YOU LOOKED SO SMART, SO VERY PROUD

AND THE BAND WAS PLAYING, VERY LOUD

I STOOD WITH YOUR MOTHER, BY MY SIDE

BOTH OF US SWOLLEN UP WITH PRIDE,

BUT A FEELING NIGGLED, DEEP INSIDE

IN MY HEART OF HEARTS I KNEW SOMEONE HAD LIED

I KNEW THE DONKEYS HAD LIED TO THE LIONS

IN PURSUIT OF NEW FIRES FOR THEIR IRONS

SON, IT IS VERY HARD TO TAKE,

SON, I KNOW I MADE A BIG MISTAKE,

SON, I KNEW THE WAR WAS ONE BIG FAKE

SON, YOUR MUM AND I ACHE AND ACHE

WE’LL NEVER, EVER, GET THE CHANCE

TO SEE YOU DANCE YOUR WEDDING DANCE

SON, OH SON, MY LOVELY SON

SON, OH SON, MY LOVELY SON

WHEN YOU WERE STILL A LITTLE BOY

I BROUGHT YOU A BRIGHT SHINY TOY

I THOUGHT YOU’D HAVE A LOT OF FUN

PLAYING WITH YOUR NEW TOY GUN

NOW I KNOW WHAT I MUST DO

THIS IS THE PROMISE, I MAKE TO YOU

WHENEVER I MEET FATHERS AND SONS

I’LL TELL THEM ALL, SMASH UP YOUR GUNS

FATHERS AND SONS – SMASH UP YOUR GUNS

FATHERS AND SONS – SMASH UP YOUR GUNS

DO IT NOW – DO IT – FOR MY SON!

Copyright: Harry Rogers – Aberbanc 3/3/2010

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SEARCHING FOR A HANG

ON THE STREET WITH THE TRAMWAY FROM TAKSIM SQUARE

IT SEEMS THERE ARE MUSICIANS BUSKING EVERYWHERE

HALFWAY ALONG THE RAILS NEAR THE ADA BOOKSHOP BAR

FIFTEEN TURKISH FOLK SINGERS SING SONGS FROM ANKARA

THE SWEETEST SONG THAT NIGHT CAME NOT FROM ANY TONGUE

BUT FROM THE DULCET FINGERS OF SOME HIPPY WITH HIS HANG

ON A CARPET COVERED CUSHION OF YELLOW BLUE AND GREEN

THE HANG RESTED ON HIS KNEES LIKE AN UPTURNED SOUP TUREEN

A CROWD OF PEOPLE GATHERED AS HE WOVE HIS RHYTHMIC SPELL

EACH CAREFULLY CHOSEN NOTE CLEARER THAN A CHRYSTAL BELL

FAR FAR SWEETER SOUNDING THAN ANY BELL THAT EVER RANG

NOW EVER SINCE THAT NIGHT I’VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR A HANG

Copyright Harry Rogers – 17th October 2012 – Istanbul

Below Topkapi Palace Walls – the chilly dogz

This is The Chilly Dogz version of my poem Below Topkapi Palace Walls written during my holiday in Istanbul in October 2012.

BELOW TOPKAPI PALACE WALLS

The horse chestnuts are dropping conkers

Outside Topkapl Palace walls

Beautiful wooden houses

Frequented by queens

In the evening gently smoking

To Blue Mosque prayer calls

Across the way yet another ruined shack

With an Istanbul stray cat

Sit sitting from a small glass

One more Hot Apple Tea

Staring out from beneath the rim

Of that old battered tennis hat

It’s hart to believe that we’re all

So close to war in the 21sy century

They say this is the place

Where East and West collide

But wherever you come from

This just might be the perfect place to hide

Whilst waiting for the start of

A nuclear Winter bomb as it falls

Find me smoking apple aniseed hubble bubble

Outside Topkapi Palace walls

Yeah

Find me smoking apple aniseed hubble bubble

Outside Topkapi Palace walls

Copyright Harry Rogers – 18th October 2012

THE GIRL IN THE GARNET COLOURED DRESS

I wrote this after thinking about children dying by accident in Palestine.  Marc Gordon and I recorded the video very quickly in his monthly guitar shop in Cardigan in our usual let’s bang it down straight away manner.  We are having fun doing these Tuesday session videos and it looks like we will get out and about for more in the coming months as I am retiring from wage slavery next weekend.

THE GIRL IN THE GARNET COLOURED DRESS

SUCH A BEAUTIFUL LITTLE GIRL

IN HER GARNET COLOURED DRESS

THE PERFECT IMAGE OF SERENITY

CARRYING A PILE OF TABOON BREAD

 

FROM HER GRANDMOTHERS OVEN

GOLD COINS GLINTING ON HER CAP

SMILING AT LEMONS IN THE SUNSHINE

WITH ASSURED STILNESS OF HER HEAD

 

STOPPING BEFORE CROSSING THE ROAD

SHE CRUMPLES TO THE DUSTY GROUND

ANOTHER COLLATERAL OBSCENITY

AN ISRAELI RICOCHET LEAVES HER DEAD

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE CRYING YET?

 

ARE WE?

 

Harry Rogers: Sunday 16th September 2012

The Chilly Dogz – “White Poppies”

WHITE POPPIES

I WAS WALKING DOWN WHITEHALL

A THOUGHT CAME INTO MY BRAIN

SUPPOSING THE POPPIES WERE WHITE

NOT THE USUAL SHADE OF BLOODY RED

COULD PEOPLE EVER CHANGE THEIR MIND

ABOUT THE REASONS THEY FILL THEIR

BUTTONHOLES WITH WIRE AND PAPER

DYED THE USUAL SHADE OF BLOODY RED

WHITE POPPIES………. 

WHITE POPPIES……….

WHITE POPPIES………. 

WHITE POPPIES……….

THE LEGION COLLECTORS TINS

SHAKE IN EVERY CITY, EVERY TOWN

BLACK CENTRES TO THE FLOWERS

STILL THE USUAL SHADE OF BLOODY RED

I WANT POPPIES FOR DEAD SOLDIERS

POPPIES FOR THEIR MUMS AND DADS

THEIR PARTNERS AND THEIR CHILDREN

NOT THE USUAL SHADE OF BLOODY RED

WHITE POPPIES………. 

WHITE POPPIES……….

WHITE POPPIES………. 

WHITE POPPIES……….

POPPIES FOR THOSE DEAD CIVILIANS

YOUNG MEN THEIR WIVES AND CHILDREN

GRAND PARENTS BLEEDING IN THE STREETS

IT’S THE USUAL SHADE OF BLOODY RED

I JUST CANNOT GET THAT THOUGHT

TO DISAPPEAR FROM INSIDE MY HEAD

IF ONLY THE POPPIES WERE WHITE

NOT THE USUAL SHADE OF BLOODY RED

WHITE POPPIES………. 

WHITE POPPIES……….

WHITE POPPIES………. 

WHITE POPPIES……….

COPYRIGHT: HARRY ROGERS – 10-08-2012