Walk Me to the War 

©1975 Andrew Calhoun, recorded on Walk Me to the War and Staring at the Sun. 

We lived in a Victorian house in Long Branch, New Jersey, in the '60s. The previous owner had been an anthropologist, and there were aborigine shields and weapons in the basement. There was a coal bin, stained glass, beautiful carved wood, a grape arbor, apple trees and a raspberry patch. A mile from the ocean, it was a great place to be a kid. We didn't have a TV. My mother read to us, an hour or so a night. She read the Chronicles of Narnia, The Little Grey Men, The Peloponnesian Wars, and the Iliad—5 times. When I was seven I asked my mother if people were still fighting wars. I was shocked when she told me they were. I am still shocked, in my better moments, that people can't find a better way to solve problems. 

Down the green hill, to the cold stream 
Many men still tumble yet
Falling from the yellow sunbeam 
All too eager to forget 

Morning's gone, the desk is cluttered 
Sunshine screaming off the snow 
The door is shut, the window shuttered 
Listen to the silence crow 

Hidden from the dreary echo 
Hidden from the whooping cough 
Babies cower in the cradle 
From something that can't be far off 

Holding tight to mother's finger 
Yellow lollipops galore 
Half in goodness, half in wonder 
Will you walk me to the war? 

Roaming past the Roman ruins 
Pits upon a foaming face 
Terror came to tame the shoppers 
Targets in the marketplace 

No one made a wrong decision 
No one left a thing behind 
A broken chance, a twilight vision 
Ripped across an empty mind 

I walked out to the bridge this evening 
And watched the stream that ran below 
Day is done, and sun is setting 
I forgot something I used to know 

Who is born to drop a bomb
Down beneath a yellow sun?
When I laugh, I laugh alone
When I cry, I cry for everyone

Down the green hill to the cold stream 
Many men still tumble yet
Falling from the yellow sunbeam 
All too eager to forget