from by Anne Lister

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Mametz Wood was part of the battle of the Somme in 1916 in which many Welsh soldiers died. National Theatre Wales and the poet Owen Sheers created an extraordinarily powerful piece, performed on lush Monmouthshire fields, and this song is my response.


Those who want to lead processions, those who want the power and glory
Those who boast with proud professions, did not take part in the story.
If you think we should remember things that cannot be denied
If you think the dead all heroes, remember this – the winners lied.

The winners lied to save you learning of the horror, fear and pain.
They lit a flame that is still burning so we might not go there again.
They were no heroes, made no choices, followed orders, dreamt of life.
They had hearts and minds and voices, loved by a mother, sister, wife.

The soldiers died and are still dying in peaceful woods, on growing corn.
Their blood was shed to help the living, for peace for babies yet unborn.
And still they send our troops to battle, still spend resources on more arms.
When what we need are crops and cattle to turn the battlefields to farms.

If you want to honour soldiers who died fighting for a cause
Let’s go against our human nature. Let’s not glorify old wars.
Let’s find a way to use our thinking so that in future no one dies.
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – still just lies.


from Astrolabe, released December 28, 2019
Mike O’Connor: Anglo concertina. Steafan Hannigan: banjo, bouzouki, Rhodes bass.


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Anne Lister Wales, UK

Anne is best known for her song "Icarus", recorded and performed by a number of different singers, including Martin Simpson and Nic Jones. "Astrolabe" is her ninth solo album.

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