- by Eric Bogle
Well how do you do, Private William MacBride
do you mind if I sit here by your graveside?
And I'll rest for a while in the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone that you were only 19
when you joined the dead heroes in 1915.
Well I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean
or Willie MacBride was it slow and obscene?
Well the sun's shining now on these green fields of France,
a warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance.
The trenches have vanished under the plow
no gas and no barbed wire, no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard that is still No Man's land
the countless white crosses in mute witness stand.
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
to a whole generation that was butchered and damned.
And I can't help but wonder now Willie MacBride
do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause?
Did you really believe them that this war would end wars?
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame -
the killing and dying - it was all done in vain.
Oh Willie MacBride, it's all happened again
and again, and again, and again, and again.
And did you leave wife or a sweetheart behind,
in some faithful heart are you forever enshrined?
And though you died back in 1915
to some faithful heart are you forever 19?