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Wrinkles Peace in Ireland: A Song Challenge (152* d) RE: Peace in Ireland: A Song Challenge 11 Mar 05

Many of the songs in this thread have brought tears to my eyes. I feel more
than a bit outclassed by this company, hence I feel the need to justify
including my own effort.

This is not exactly a "peace" song, more of an anti-Troubles song. I
composed it sometime around '77/8 after the first decade of the Troubles in
the hopes it would make folk think about the Troubles, what perpetuates
them, and their ultimate futility, because it seemed to me at the time that
nothing had been gained from the Troubles, but there was plenty of things
that had been lost because of them.

I've always found songs that deal with "issues" are so intellectual that
they lack emotional punch and reality, so I personalised the issues and
wrote a song about one woman's loss from her point of view. It seemed to
work; when ever I performed the song there was always a few moments silence
afterwards before the audience loudly applauded. It was a very humbling
experience; the song is greater than the composer.

I was approached more than once by folk asking if I'd based the story on a
real life cases that they were able to cite. This somewhat took me aback, to
realise that the story had really happened more than once, because I'd made
it all up from my imagination.

What got me thinking along these lines was someone remarking " 'T'is easy to
die. There's plenty as has died for Ireland, but who can ye name that has
chose to _live_ for her? Now that'd be hard, aye."; I've no idea if that was
a quote or spontanious.

I taught the song to a few local Belfast performers of the time (from both
"sides"!) and for a while it took up a life of it's own. I left NI almost
two decades ago now, so I've no idea if anyone is still singing this in the
clubs today.

The verse verse chords repeat for every two lines, and the tempo is a slow



[verse 1]
[Asus2]When I was a [Cmaj7]young maid my [D] Johnny courted [Am]me
and he [C]made me so [Em]happy when he [C]said "My bride ye'll [G]be".
We were wed and when I was seven months with child
the fire grew in his eyes, I could see him turnin' wild.
He said that he was off "A Rebel for to be"
so that his child could be raised in a land of the free.
And so my husband left to fight the forces of the Crown,
but it t'was not very long 'afore he was shot down.

[chorus 1]
Ah. [Dm]Johnny [Em]why did ye [Am]do it?
Johnny why did ye do it?

[verse 2]
Our son was born and for his father was named
and as he grew I told him of his father famed.
I told him that his father had been a martyr brave,
who'd died a hero, his country for to save.
Young Johnny was but seventeen when he took up the gun
he said "I have to fight, for I am me father's son".
and it was on a bright May morning they came and said to me;
"They've caught young Johnny, and hung him from a tree".

[chorus 1]
Ah. Johnny why did ye do it?
Johnny why did ye do it?

[verse 3]
I wept, and I cried, I swore that I would die
but I choked upon my tears when I realised
I'd called my man a hero just to make my own grief less
and sent my son too his death by my thoughtlessness.
For my son may have never made his stand
if I'd not made a hero out of my husband.
This foolish woman has a lot to answer for;
with my selfish pride I fanned the flames of war.

[chorus 2]
Ah, Johnny, can ye forgive me?
Johnny can ye forgive me?

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