The Soldier


Written: 1985
Released: 2000 on 'Cupid Is A Drunkard'



Inspired by Jacques Brel's song 'La Statue' (The Statue).
All across France there are prominent monuments to the war dead, and
Brel sings his song from the view point of the statue of the soldier that
always forms the centre piece of these monuments - "I'd like to get
hold of that son of Lent who had engraved beneath my statue 'God calls
back those he loves, and it was him he loved the most' - me, who never
prayed to God except for when I had toothache, me who never prayed to
God except when I was afraid of Satan, me who only prayed to Satan
when I was in love, me who only prayed to Satan when I was afraid of
God. Ah that child of Lent, I'd like him here, and I'd like it if children
didn't look at me."


I didn't die for my country
I didn't die for my roast beef
I didn't die for duty free
I didn't die for tax relief
I didn't die for Auntie Joan
I didn't die for Uncle Fred
I didn't die for someone's throne
I didn't die for what they said

I died just because I died
I had no last request
I died to swell the stupid pride
In someone else's chest
I died a piece of cannon bait
Because I had no choice
I died to answer for the hate
In someone else's voice


And you thank me with flowers I cannot smell
You thank me with guns and missiles as well
But most of all you thank me
With useless lumps of stone
That tell a different story
That say I died in glory
When I really died alone

But I didn't die for my country
I didn't die for science research
I didn't die for the trinity
And I didn't die for the church
I didn't die for a knighthood
I didn't die for self esteem
I didn't die for my own good
I didn't die for someone's dream

I died because I so desired
To take a little stroll
I died because I was so tired
Of sitting in a hole
I died no larger than a pin
On someone else's map
I died no more than just a spring
On someone else's trap


And you thank me with medals I cannot flee
You thank me as if I were a Christmas tree
But most of all you thank me
With theatres of war
That tell a different story
That say I died in glory
But never show what I saw

But I didn't die for my country
I didn't die for Juliet
I didn't die for liberty
I didn't die just to forget
I didn't die for my marriage
I didn't die for charity
I didn't die for this carnage
I didn't die for sympathy

I died a human albatross
A sign of man's disgrace
I died to keep the smile across
A patriotic face
I died a human anagram
A twisted barbecue
I died my arms around a man
I never even knew


And you thank me by singing your victory song
You thank me by letting this bloodshed go on
But most of all you thank me
With the child who bears my name
You tell him a different story
You tell him I died in glory
Do you really have no shame?


© Philip Jeays 1985

© Philip Jeays 2011-2012