Waltzing Matilda

Adam Levenstein cleon42 at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 21 20:51:43 MDT 2003


A more interesting twist on "Waltzing Mathilda," and certainly
appropriate considering the current political climate, is Eric Bogle's
"And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda:"

Now when I was a young man I carried my pack
And lived the free life of the rover
>From the Murray's Green Basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in 1915 my country said "Son,
It's time you stopped rambling, there's work to be done."
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war

And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As the ship pulled away from the quay
And amidst all the cheers, flag waving and tears
We sailed off for Gallipoli

And how well I remember that terrible day
How our blood stained the sand and the water
And of how in that hell that they called Souvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
'Johnny Turk' he was ready, he'd primed himself well
He rained us with bullets and he showered us with shell
And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia


And the band played Waltzing Matilda
While we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then it started all over again

And those that were left, well we tried to survive
In that mad world of death, blood and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse-over-head
And when I awoke in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, well, I wished I was dead
Never knew there was worse things than dying


For I'll go no more waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and free
For to hump tent and pegs a man needs both legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So, they collected the wounded, the crippled, the maimed
And shipped us back home to Australia
The legless, the armless, the blind, the insane
The proud, wounded heroes of Souvla
And when our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thanked Christ there was no one there waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity


But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood there and stared
Then they turned all their faces away

So now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
I see my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams and past glories
And the old men march slowly, old bones stiff and sore
They're tired old heroes of a forgotten war
And the young people ask "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question


But the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men still answer the call
But as year follows year, more old men disappear
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll go a'waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by that billabong
Who'll come a'waltzing Matilda with me?

=====
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Adam Levenstein                          cleon42 at yahoo.com
ICQ: 17125158

"The power of accurate observation is frequently
called cynicism by those who don't have it."
                                   - George Bernard Shaw

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