Hero from the War (Michael Behnan)

I had a conversation... with a hero from the war...

'Irish' was his name... he'd lived in P.E.I. before...

he said " the soil is red there... just as red as red can be..."

I asked him was the sand as red... on the beach at Normandy...

...

he fell in love in England... he fell in love in Italy...

he never brought no woman back, abd back home, they'd all got married

so he sat down at this table, he's been here twenty nine years...

every time he tells his story... his eyes well up with tears.

...

I never fought for my country... never sang those soldier songs...

I look out at this crazy world... I can't tell right from wrong...

when I look into this dead man's eyes... one thing I can see...

he never found out who put him there; was it you, or was it me?

...

what can I do for you, old man? ... to ease your misery...

if war had broke out yesterday, it surely could have been me...

I know I've had more chance than you, to make better of my days...

but I'm sitting at this table, too... let's forget our yesterdays...

...

I had a conversation, with a hero from the war...

'Irish' was his name; he'd lived in P.E.I. before...

he'd say "the soil is red there...just as red as red can be..."

and I'd ask him: was the sand as red... on that beach in Normandy?"

 

     ...well... this song opens 'The Brave Work'... written by the late Michael Behnan (for

whom I wrote 'Portrait of the Artist') and has long been 'up there' on my list of songs 'I 

wrote or wish I had'... those of us that came of age' in a certain era, knew men like this...

the ones holding down corner tables in taverns that had entrances and rooms for men

only and perhaps 'ladies and escorts'; or rooms split down the middle... 'beer parlours'..,

and we who chose to learn the trade of 'saloon singer' would meet older fellows who had

never really 'come back from the war'... eventually they died off, as did the 'honky tonk

'scene'... I certainly met some sad and damaged  characters, and perhaps this was a 

curiously Canadian phenomenon; as we have not been engaged in the perpetual wars 

afflicting our friends south of the border. Recently I read that more veterans have 

committed suicide in the past decade than died in the entire Vietnam conflict.  I guess 'my

generation' was fortunate indeed to not have been conscripted into war... " I know I've had

more chance than you, to make better of my days..." indeed. 

 

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