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The Unknown Soldier

Roy Harper
Lingua: Inglese


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[1980]
Parole e musica di Roy Harper
La traccia che dà il titolo (e la copertina) all’album

The Unknown Soldier

Una canzone nata dopo una visita a Verdun…
Negli ultimi versi, un’attualizzazione: il soldato morto sui campi della Grande Guerra veglia sul sonno e sui sogni degli innocenti, dei bambini, e insieme a loro andrà a fare a pezzi il bastardo che tiene il dito sul pulsante che può scatenare la guerra finale, quella nucleare…

L'ossario di Douaumont, sacrario delle battaglie di Verdun
L'ossario di Douaumont, sacrario delle battaglie di Verdun


[…] Perhaps the most remarkable moment in the history of the making of this record was the trip I made with Adrian Boot, later to photograph Bob Marley so completely, to the battlefield at Verdun in France to take the pictures for the sleeve. Pete (Jenner) had just read a book called- 'The Price Of Glory' Verdun 1916, by Alistair Horne, and he suggested Verdun as an idea. I seized on the idea immediately and Adrian and I were soon disembarking at Boulogne in an undrivable hired Rover with an arse-end three miles in the air and a steering wheel on the wrong side. We hurtled down France for half a day surviving a period where it rained cats and dogs and at the end of which we walked, stoned and soaked, into a Pension and I asked for a room for the night in my schoolboy French. “Avez vous une chambre ce soir...” etc. And a lizard woman looked us up and down...



What we saw the following day brought me to tears on a few occasions. A sea of graves, surmounted by a monument the like of which I'd never seen anywhere. In style, it is pure art deco, in deference it is Egyptian, and in effect it is devastating. And it is full of the bones of hundreds of thousands of men; visible through the windows of the basement around the building. We took the pictures, even though it seemed like a sacrilege. And isn't that the nature of our beast?: a very certain irreverence may seem to help with the wisdom. The pathos is deep and beckoning. Guilt barbs the understanding. And there was too much to try to understand. And down the hill on all sides seemed to disappear into a distant desert of excuses. I can't remember the journey home, except for it's silence.
(Roy Harper)
I am an old soldier
I've been in the wars
Backwards and forwards,
Creeping on all fours

And I travel the pulses
Unseen and alone
Dogfights in the cosmos
Feeling the unknown

And I laugh in my sleep
Sitting in the gutter
Picking dog-ends from the deep

I am an old soldier
I see in your face
Times repeating
Uniforms in space

Looking forward to Doomsday
Telepathy wars
Dogma daydreams
Imaginary doors

And I laugh in my sleep
Sitting in the gutter
Picking dog-ends from the deep

But in the night a little boy is dreaming mysteries
And looking after laughter with his sister climbing trees
And somewhere there's a button and a silent satellite
And a bastard who would press it and an everlasting night

I'd hunt him like a tiger and I'd tear him to a shred
There's nowhere you can hide man
Me and the kids we'd feed you to the dead

And I cry in my sleep
For all the hungry children
And the unbelieving sheep.

inviata da Bernart Bartleby - 18/2/2016 - 15:45



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