The Last Remembrance

Chris decided long ago that he could no longer endure the Ceremony of Remembrance parades and services.  It was too much for him.  He knew that he would break down and weep copious tears, sobbing at all of the memories that he could not set aside.  He could never forget!

Instead, each year, he went on his normal morning walk and found a quiet spot, apart from all human presence, and there he would remember his friends, and his enemies.  Not all had died young, not all had died in battle.  Some had not died, at least not straight away.

He remembered two young men.  They had all just returned to camp after manoeuvres and were told they could not go home until all the vehicles had been cleaned and put away.  One young man was newly married with a two week old baby.  He persuaded his friend to take him home in his car.  It wouldn’t take long, and they could be back before anybody noticed they were missing.  The car was sporty, high powered, and had a roll bar fitted.  The young driver entered a bend far too fast, lost control, and rolled the car.  It hit a tree.  The roll bar saved the life of the driver but decapitated the young father.

He remembered two young Corporals, erecting an aerial mast on top of a vehicle in Germany, right underneath a very high voltage cable.  One walked away with very serious burns, the other had horrendous burns and lost a leg and large portions of muscle mass.  Chris had the job of taking inventory of the burned vehicle and its contents and then visiting the worst injured once he left hospital to tell him that he no longer had a job but there was good news, his promotion to Sergeant had come through!

He remembered a young man who shot himself in the chest but survived, only to shoot himself in the head once he was back at work.

He remembered running for his life, literally, when it seemed that everyone wanted him dead, when all around him were falling, screaming, dying.  He would not forget!

He stood as usual, at 11am, at attention, alone.  He remembered.  How could he do anything else?

After two minutes of silence, of remembering, of trying to forget, he saluted, fell, and joined his comrades!

Song Lyric Sunday – 6 September 2020 – Yanamamo

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Musical/Opera this week rather than a choice of words to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

I’m opting for a not so familiar song this week, from a musical that is normally performed by schoolchildren. I was lucky enough to attend a performance, probably 25 years ago now. It was very moving. The children had obviously spent a huge amount of time in learning, rehearsing, and performing the 90 minute work. Afterwards I bought a cassette tape (remember those) of the performance and played it often in the car whilst travelling to and from work.

Peter Anthony Rose MBE (music) and Anne Conlon MBE (words) are British writers best known for their environmental musicals for children. They were both teachers in Lancashire, England, for the majority of their creative achievements and most of their works have been written specially for St Augustine’s RC High School, Billington. At the time Peter Rose was their head of music. They wrote with a view to expanding the children’s knowledge of the world and the environment, perhaps hoping that their seeds would fall on fertile minds and help to make the world a better place.

In 1988 the US-based World Wildlife Fund (WWF) funded the musical Yanomamo, by Rose and Conlon, to convey what is happening to the people and their natural environment in the Amazon rainforest. It tells of Yanomami tribesmen/ tribeswomen living in the Amazon and has been performed by many drama groups around the world. Sadly, lessons were not learned and the Yanomami continue to endure massacres, disease, and a loss of more and more of their environment. What appeared to be a positive awakening of their plight was very short lived. The rest of the world calls it progress!

Yanomamo is a 90-minute work for chorus, soloists, narrator and stage band, and the original production, performed by the choir and musicians of St Augustine’s RC High School, was narrated by Sir David Attenborough and premiered at the Royal Institute, London, before appearing at the Edinburgh Festival. They later performed Yanomamo in America, narrated by Sting, which production was recorded for television and later broadcast (on Easter Sunday, 1989) on Channel 4 under the title of Song of the Forest. The TV version was commercially released by WWF. Since its publication the musical has seen performances by thousands of children throughout the world.

The lyrics are on the video which, unfortunately, is not very good quality. I hope you enjoy “Song of the Forest”

Song Lyric Sunday 19/01/2020 – Written or sung by Tom/Dick/Harry or including one of these names in the lyrics

song-lyric-sundayJust how does Jim Adams keep up his prodigious posting and yet he still manages to keep on hosting Song Lyric Sunday?

Frankly, I don’t care. I’m just thankful that he gives us the chance to share lots of familiar, and some not so familiar, songs.

If you fancy joining in you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week I’m offering you a song that I love. Without You sung by Harry Nilsson. Originally a BadFinger song.

I can’t do better than to quote the words of James Cooper (I have no idea who James is, but his words sum up the song so well)

“What makes this so incredible? It is not the song. It is not the lyrics. It’s Harry’s mind bending, heart rending, vocal. I can’t think of another vocal that so powerfully and authentically conveys anguish while never coming close to being over wrought. The vocal is also incredibly nuanced. The first few lines are sadly reflective. He then sounds increasingly ominous. He then becomes desperate, then pleading, then hopeless, then resigned—a shifting kaleidoscope of pain. I really think this brief little song contains one of the most powerful vocal performances ever recorded. All other covers are simply embarrassments.”

Thank you James Cooper, and thank you Harry Nilsson.

 

And here is the original Badfinger version:

 

Without You

Harry Nilsson

No, I can’t forget this evening
Or your face as you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way the story goes
You always smile but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes, it shows

No, I can’t forget tomorrow
When I think of all my sorrows
When I had you there but then I let you go
And now it’s only fair that I should let you know
What you should know

I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give any more
Can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t give, I can’t give any more

Well, I can’t forget this evening
Or your face as you were leaving
But I guess that’s just the way the story goes
You always smile but in your eyes your sorrow shows
Yes, it shows

Can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore
I can’t live, if living is without you
I can’t live, I can’t give anymore
(Living is without you)

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Peter William Ham / Thomas Evans

Without You lyrics © Songtrust Ave, BMG Rights Management