I see that you were only eighteen years old
As you fell at the Somme: it’s the usual story,
In fighting for countries and for their freedom
At eighteen you were buried in the earth.
But you weren’t called a hero nor counted a patriot
And no flag was flown at half mast
And there was no weeping over your blood
By those with blood on their hands.
And who were they who told you, I wonder
That it was swank for a lad to shoulder a gun
And who were they in their swell uniforms
Who drilled and marched you – and murdered you in time.
You didn't see through this till too late in the day;
You didn’t have the chance to grow into a free man,
But through the smoke and medals as you fell to the ground
You saw that it wasn’t them who’d be weeping now.
Others were in a cell in your dear Fron Coch,
Grey in pallor and fed on pig swill
But the flame of their rebellion they kept alight
And Ireland arose by their unshaken stand.
They were imprisoned for trying to free
Their country from the hands that drove you to your death
And a mother in Fron Goch was heavy of heart
On hearing that a lad was dust in the Somme.
The men in London with their seats in Whitehall
Drive to war those who’ll never return.
From the slums of Glasgow town or the hamlets of Wales,
Innocent lads are sent into battle —
To die or to kill their fellow man
In the name of some freedom that’s meaningless to them,
You, Tomos Williams, for nothing at all
Are still falling like prey in the trenches.
St. Patrick's Day 2003: Memorial Ceremony
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