Well, how do you do young Willie McBride?
Do you mind if I sit here down by your graveside?
And rest for awhile in the warm summer sun
I've been walking all day, and I'm nearly done
I see by your gravestone, you were only nineteen
When you joined the great call-up in nineteen sixteen
And I hope you died quick, and I hope you died clean
Or young Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?
Did they beat the drums slowly?
Did they play the fife loudly?
Did they play the death march as they lowered you down?
Did the band play the Last Post and chorus?
Did the pipes play the Flowers of the Forest?
Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined?
Although you died back in nineteen-sixteen
In that faithful heart are you forever nineteen
Or are you a stranger without even a name?
Enclosed and forever behind a glass frame
In an old photograph, torn, battered and stained
And faded to yellow, in a brown leather frame
Well the sun, now it shines, on the green fields of
As the warm summer breeze, that makes the red poppies
And look how the sun shines from under the clouds
There's no gas, no barbwire, there's no guns firing now
But here in this graveyard that's still no-man's land
The countless white crosses stand mute in the sand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
To a whole generation, that was butchered and damned
Young Willie McBride, I can't help wondering why
Do those that lie here know why that they died?
And did they believe when they answered the call
Did they really believe that this war would end war?
The sorrow, the suffering, the glory, the pain
The killing and dying were all done in vain
Young Willie McBride, it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again