Well how do you do Private Willie McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here by your graveside?
And sit for awhile 'neath the warm summer sun,
I've been walking all day and I'm near to done.
I can see by your gravestone you were only nineteen,
When you joined the great fallen of Nineteen Sixteen,
Well I hope you died well, I hope you died clean,
Or young Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?
Did they beat the drum slowly, did they play the pipe lowly?
Did they sound the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play "The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play "The Flowers of the Forest"?
Did you leave e'er a wife, or a sweetheart behind,
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
Or did you die barren, in Nineteen Sixteen,
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen?
Or are you a stranger without even a name,
Enclosed forever behind the glass pane,
In an old photograph, torn, tattered and stained,
And faded to yellow in a brown leather frame?
Well the sun it now shines on the green fields of France,
There's a warm Summer's breeze makes the red poppies dance.
And see 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's 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.
Ah, young Willie McBride, I can't help wonder why
Do those that lie here know why they did die?
And did they believe, when they answered the call,
Did they really believe that this war would end all?
But the sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain,
The killing, the dying, were all done in vain,
For young Willie McBride it's all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again.