Poppies Over Me.
By Randall Stephen Hall.
Before we leave the month of November 2014, when the year surrenders to the seasons, I thought I would bring to you I song I wrote called “Poppies Over Me”.
Richard Hall, my great great grandfather was a soldier, born in Westmeath and living in Cavan when he joined what was then the Cavan Militia, which became the 60th Irish Rifles. He was to become a quarter master/colour sergeant. This Irish British regiment spent part of its time in the Curragh before moving to Aldershot and from there on to Canada in 1861 due to “The Trent Crisis” which, by the time they had reached Canada, had been resolved.
My father had a keen interest in family history which luckily, he passed on to me, along with a few important photographs, (for me), which I cherish. A few of them are here with this article. Being able to look into the faces of your ancestors is a gift that, not everyone receives. I am fortunate in that.
My great grandfather, Richard’s son was called William Frederick. He was born in Winnipeg and christened in Montreal in 1864. The regiment travelled some great distances before the advent of easily accessible railway travel. Six of the thirteen children, born to Caroline Wade were born in Canada.
Of the thirteen children, two died very young and two of the boys died in the Great War 1914-1918. What was great about it? One of these boys was gassed to death and the other boy died in some other way. What a loss. What a waste.
This song and the lyrics are for them. Tom, one of the other sons, returned to Canada to farm in the Winnipeg area, I believe (all this information is from my great aunt Etta, my grandfather’s sister). One of his sons married a German and was interned during the Second World War. Ah, the things that love can do to you . . .
Lots of my ancestors on the Ferguson family were from a farming background and knew how to work the land. I still like to use a spade and feel the soil on my hands. It’s good honest stuff and it feels like home to me.
Poppies Over Me.
By Randall Stephen Hall.
Grandfather was a sailor
And he sailed the seven seas.
Now that I have grown
I will join the auld army.
They say it’s good to travel
Lift your boots up off the land.
And all I have to do
Is put this gun right in my hand.
Ah, they’ve dressed me up right well now.
And I really look the part.
They’ve shown me how to kill a man.
They’ve made it quite an art.
They say that all technology
Will free us from the lash.
But I just think it’s all about
Making pots and pots of cash.
Will you tell me that you love me?
Put my picture in your frame.
Will you sit and watch me smiling?
Kiss the flicker of my flame.
Oh November, oh remember me
And never let me go.
Go tell our sons to gather up
This horse to plough new furrows.
My father was a farmer
And he worked behind this plough.
Digging fields and furrows
That his long day would allow.
This trench is like a furrow
And it’s raining in on me.
What ever crops will grow here?
Lay some poppies over me.
Ah, they like to get you young now
And they like to get you fresh.
Invade your head with orders
While your mind they will caress.
They’ll take you to their bosom
Like an orphaned lonely child.
Tipperary’s far away
And home is many miles.
Chorus, repeat first verse . . .
I too lived in Winnipeg for a time, Stephen – three of our four children were born there. ‘Small world’ I think is the relevant phrase…
Thanks Jude. Small world? And getting smaller. I’m sure you could tell me some stories. My search continues . . .
Beautiful song Randall – Always, always a pleasure to hear one of your new songs.
Thank you very much indeed.
Best wishes to you and yours.
Thanks John. Glad you liked the song. I like songs that paint a picture, tell a tale or make a point.
I’ve yet to see a documentary about the fortunes made during the First World War over a spoil tip of bodies. Good Luck. RSH.
Keep going, RSH..good stuff.
Thanks Paddy. Glad you like the words . . .
Very moving indeed.And Randall you are a story teller as well.
Thanks Michael. That’s either an unusual surname or you live away over there (I’m pointing left and looking out across the sea). Glad you liked it. Hopefully more to follow. RSH.