The Green Fields of France

appears as "No Man's Land" sung by June Tabor

Well how do you do Private William McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
And rest for a while 'neath the warm summer sun;
I've been working all day and I'm nearly done.
I see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
When you joined the glorious fallen in 1916
And I hope you died well, and I hope you died clean
Or young William McBride was it slow and obscene?

Did they beat they beat the drum slowly?
Did they sound the fife lowly?
Did the rifles fire over ye as they lowered ye down?
Did the band play the last post and chorus;
Did the pipes play "The Flowers of the Forest?"

And did you leave a wife or sweetheart behind?
In some loyal heart is your mem'ry enshrined?
And although you died back in 1916,
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger without even a name
Enclosed and forever behind some glass pane
In an old photograph, torn and battered and stained
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?


Well, the sun it shines down on these green fields of France;
There's a warm summer breeze, it makes the red poppies dance
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbed wire, there's no guns firing now.
But here in this graveyard it still no man's land
And the rows of white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
To a whole generation who was butchered and damned.


Now young Willie McBride I can't help but wonder
Do all those who lie here know when they died?
And did you believe when you answered the cause
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
Well, the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain;
For young Willie McBride it's all happened again
And again and again and again and again.