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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Orac Tune Req: Need a song about war/soldier/pacif (38) Lyr Add: THE MAN I KILLED (Mick Ryan) 01 May 01


"The Man I killed" by Mick Ryan is in my opinion the best anti war song ever written. Its also the only song I know where the "chorus" is in the middle of the verse.
It goes through all the ages of warfare. It takes a lot of learning, but its well worth it. It is available on a CD called "The Widow's promise" with Pete Harris. (See DT for that song where it is erroneously called "The devil versus the widow" with a few errors in the lyrics). Both Mick and Pete will be at our folk club in November. (Brewtown Folk Club, Burton on Trent)

THE MAN I KILLED
(Mick Ryan)

My enemy I first did see with the dawn all in his eye
His armour bright was a fine brave sight and I heard his battle cry
His sword did wave and a yell I gave in answer to his call
By the red sunset the ground was wet with blood were he did fall
In another place, at another time I'd drink his health in a glass of wine
I'd shake the hand and think no ill of the man that I did kill.
For who can say why he marched away the join the battle throng
For a mans mislead by the glorious dead who live in a hero's song
Did he march away on a fine spring day to a darling sweetheart's wave
Was it careless love or a chance to prove to his love that he was brave

My enemy I then did see with a musket in his hand
He raised that gun in the morning sun when he made his final stand
But I picked him out in that last redoubt and I heard the singing sigh
Of the ball that flew to the man I slew and I heard his last death cry
In another place, at another time I'd drink his health in a glass of wine
I'd shake the hand and think no ill of the man that I did kill.
For who can say why he marched away to meet my deadly aim
Was it want of bread or work that lead him a way to the deadly game
Was his poor soul sold for a piece of gold that brought him over the sea
Did a starving wife or a poor man's life bring the poor man here to me

My enemy I then did see in a world of shell and fire
I saw him stand in the no-man's land through the loops of the old barbed wire
And as he ran I marked my man and played my well-drilled part
And the air was split as the bullet hit and tore his life apart
In another place, at another time I'd drink his health in a glass of wine
I'd shake the hand and think no ill of the man that I did kill.
For who can say why he marched away so far from his native land
Did he fear to die, did the white feathers fly, did she place one in his hand
Did he feel her shame, did he take the blame, did she smile at his uniform
And did she cry when he went to die on that far off summer's morn

My enemy I could not see with his children in his arms
He was far away on that fateful day and I meant to him no harm
But I gave the word and a roar was heard as death took us all by the hand
And in reply it was eye for eye and we're all in no-man's land
In another place, at another time I'd drink his health in a glass of wine
I'd shake the hand and think no ill of the man that I did kill.
For who can say why we march away, we have reasons of our own
We are poor, we are sad, we are rich, we are glad, and we all die our deaths alone
We go up, we go back, we retreat, we attack, we are safe and we take our chance
We mark our man and we do what we can to keep up with death's old dance
In another place, at another time I'd drink his health in a glass of wine
I'd shake the hand and think no ill of the man that I did kill.


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