Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas in the Trenches

words & music by John McCutcheon

Inspired by a back-stage conversation with an old woman in Birmingham, AL, this song tells a story that is not only true, but well-known throughout Europe. For some of the history behind the 1914 WWI Christmas Truce, click here.

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 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 towards us!" the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one lone figure coming from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shone 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 squeeze box 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 began to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous 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 for evermore.

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.

©1984 John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP)
Taken from The John McCutcheon Folk Music Page

Friday, October 07, 2005

George, God here ...

President Bush has words with the Almighty
Terry JonesFriday October 22, 2004



"This is God here ..."

"Hi, God. What can I do for you?"

"I want you to stop this Iraq thing, George."

"But you told me to do it, God!"

"No I didn't, George ..."

"But you did! You spoke to me through Karl, Rumsey and Dick and all those other really clever guys!"

"How did you know it was me talking, George?"

"Instinct, God. I just knew it!"

"Do you really think I'd want you to unleash all this horror and bloodshed on another lot of human beings?"

"But they're Muslims! They don't believe in You, God!"

"But, George, they do believe in me. Jews, Christians and Moslems all worship the same Me! Didn't you do comparative theology at school, George?"

"No, of course not! You think I'm some sort of peace-waving dope-headed liberal faggot-lover, God?"

"No, of course not, George, but I expect you to know something about the people you're bombing."

"Oh, come on! I know it's right to bomb those oily rag-heads until there's not one left to wipe a wrench on!"

"How do you know that, George?"

"Cause You tell me that's what I should do, God."

"George, I do not tell you to do that!"

"But I hear You, God! You speak to me! You tell me what to do! You tell me what is Right and what is Wrong! That's why I don't need to listen to any soft-baked, mealy-mouthed liberal Kerry-pickers!"

"George, you're deluding yourself."

"God! How can you say that? I got some of the most powerful people on this planet down on their knees every day in the White House just a-praying to You! Now are you gonna tell me You ain't listening? Because if You ain't listening, God, that's Your problem - not mine!"

"George, of course I'm listening - it's you who is not listening to Me!"

"And I'll tell you why! 'Cause You ain't addressing me right."

"What d'you mean, you jumped-up little Ivy League draft-dodger?"

"If you're so 'omniscient', God, you oughta know that you gotta go through Karl Rove, John Ashcroft, Rumsey and Dick ... those fellas know what they're talking about! I can't listen to just any deity who can pick up the phone!"

"But, I'm God, George!"

"Does Karl say you are?"

"But why do you believe Karl?"

"Because my gut tells me he's right!"

"Listen, you ignorant little pinch-eyed Billy Graham convert! Can't you get it into your head that I'm God and I'm telling you to stop all this 'pre-emptive strike' nonsense! Stop destroying Iraq! Stop supporting that monster Sharon! Stop picking a fight with the only other human beings on the planet that believe in Me! You're leading the world into unbelievable chaos and horror!"

"That's enough, God! That's just the sort of defeatist crap that I won't allow in the White House! Get out of here!"

"I cannot believe I'm hearing this, George."

"Well you better start believing, God, because this is the new reality. Don'tcha know that a recent Gallup poll shows that 42% of Americans identify themselves as 'born again'? That cuts across Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, white and black! This is a real political power base, God, and you'd better believe it!"

"Look, all I'm asking is for you to show a little compassion to your fellow human beings!"

"I'm not going to debate this with you, God! You're beginning to sound like you belong to the reality-based community!"

"What the hell does that mean?"

"Well by the 'reality-based community', we mean people who believe that solutions emerge from their judicious study of discernible reality."

"Sounds fair enough..."

"But, as one of my advisors told Ron Suskind of the Wall Street Journal: 'The reality-based community is not the way the world really works any more. We're an empire now and, when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'."

"You don't give a damn, George?"

"I mean You speak through me, God, not the other way round! Is that clear?"

"Yes, Mr President."

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Autumn's Child

by Snoupi

The leaves are turning brown and gold,
And evening shivers from the cold.
The Autumn wind blows free and wild,
And I am born - Autumn's child.

Another year has passed away,
And it's getting close to end of day.
Soon the world will sleep in snow.
I wonder - where do dead days go?

Sunset slowly drips away
The graceful exit of the day
In the caverns of my mind.
And every Fall I look behind.

The leaves are turning brown and gold,
And evening shivers from the cold.
The Autumn wind blows free and wild,
And I am born - Autumn's child.

Autumn Evening's shadows cast
The thought of friends and lovers past
Into my melancholy mind,
Sending shivers down my spine.

I'm walking down forgotten ways
In reruns of forgotten days.
I feel forgotten tears and smiles,
And Death gives birth to Autumn's child.

The leaves are turning brown and gold,
And evening shivers from the cold.
The Autumn wind blows free and wild,
And I am born - Autumn's child.

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Monday, September 12, 2005


by Snoupi

One day, many years ago,
Mister Sun was feeling low.
He hid behind the clouds up there,
Because it seemed that no one cared.

He tried to shine his smile so fair,
But, still it seemed that no one cared.
So, once again, he hid his frown
Behind the clouds above the town.

Then, once, as he tried to smile so dim,
A little Daisy smiled at him.
So Mister Sun's dim smile grew bright,
And the little Daisy's opened wide.

The more he smiled, the more did she;
The more did she, the more did he.
And soon the world was bathed in Sun,
And people smiled at every one.

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Monday, May 09, 2005

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Toy Boy by John Lennon

I've searched and searched the web for this to no avail, so, having an (unofficial) copy of it, sent to me years ago by a friend, I thought I'd post this: (Special thanks to Rebel) Edit: On January 5, 2006, I finally found and acquired an "Official" copy. See it HERE

The Toy Boy
by John Lennon

“I don’t believe a word of it
I think it’s too absurd of it
It’s just an old wives tale, I bet,
The softest and the silliest yet
Imagine if it walked and that
Surely it would crush us flat
It’s such a giant thing you know
And all in all it goes to show
How stupid can you be?”

This was Ralph the elephant
Talking loud and eloquent
Bossing all the bears and cats
All the shoes and policemen’s hats
Shouting down the old wise shoe
Who thought he was the one who knew
“I don’t care what you say to me
I’ve been on his foot you see!”
And he had!

“I’ve heard it squeaking,” said the horse,
“Though I can’t be sure of course
I could have sworn it climbed on me
When I was asleep you see!”
“What nonsense!” Ralph replied at length,
“Do you think it has the strength?
I call this meeting to a close
All in favor raise their nose
We’ll take a vote!”

“Unfair! Unfair!” the toys all said,
“Shoes and hats they have no head!”
“How can they vote, I ask you now!”
Said the brown but friendly cow.
“We’ll wait until the break of day
To prove the truth in what we say.”
“Agreed! Agreed!” said Sidney Shoe
Who thought he was the one who knew.
He probably was.

The clock struck eight as clocks will do
At eight o’clock that’s nothing new
Except that this one never could
Unless you asked it if it would.
The clock obligingly conferred –
“I will not chime unless I’m heard!”
He was an artiste so you see
He didn’t like to chime for free.
You know how it is.

As it struck the room went dead
A little voice came from the bed
“Is anybody there?” it spoke,
“Or is this someone’s kind of joke?
I could have sworn I heard a voice
Maybe Grannie made the noise
In her early waning fit
As she gets her ciggie lit
But I doubt it”

“It must have come from over there
From my toys beneath the chair
I can’t believe it but it’s true
Somebody has moved my shoe!
The one I got from Uncle Tom
Who said he needed only one.
And Sidney Shoe and Carol Cow
They must have moved, I wonder how
It’s most peculiar.”

“I think I ought to tell my dad,
I have no secrets,” said the lad,
“And mother she’s a right to see
All this nonconformity.”
And so he went and told them a
ll And suddenly he felt so small
Because they took him in the car
To see that awful Doctor Par
Who certified him
There you are!

Edit: On January 5, 2006, I finally found and acquired an "Official" copy. See it HERE