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Singing The Spirit Home

  • (Eric Bogle)

    They came for him in the morning, an hour before dawning
    The pale white moon was waning in the African sky
    The cell door flew wide open, they stood looking at him
    He saw no mercy in their hearts, no pity in their eyes

    As they took him and they bound him, tied his trembling hands behind him
    He felt his courage leave him, his manhood disappear
    His legs would not support him, so from the cell they dragged him
    He sobbed and screamed and cursed them in his loneliness and fear

    Chains, chains, chains
    How many souls have died in freedom's name
    To some it is a way of life, to others just a word
    To some it is a snow-white dove, to some a bloody sword
    But until the last chains fall, freedom will make slaves of us all

    With faces closed and hidden the white guards walked beside him
    Indifferent to his pleading - they'd been down this path before
    But other eyes were watching, other ears were listening
    Other hearts beat with him in his final desperate hour

    From the darkness of that prison came the sound of his brothers singing
    Courage, their voices told him, you do not walk alone
    From their cells beyond the shadow he heard their voices echo
    As in love and pride and sorrow they sang his spirit home

    Chains, chains, chains
    How many souls have died in freedom's name
    To some it is a way of life, to others just a word
    To some it is a snow-white dove, to some a bloody sword
    But until the last chains fall, freedom will make slaves of us all

    And their song of hope and freedom, it rang inside that prison
    It beat against the iron bars and crashed against the stone
    As in their fear and hate they hung him, the last sound that filled his being
    Was his brothers singing, singing his spirit home

    Courage, brother, you do not walk alone
    We shall walk with you and sing your spirit home

    ends with singing of SHOSHOLOSA

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1966:] [Tshotsholosa (Road Song)] was included in the South African show 'King Kong' in which Miriam Makeba appeared. [...] The English goes something like this: Steam away, steam away over the hills, you train from Rhodesia. You are fast moving through hills, steam away, you train from Rhodesia. (Notes, 'Travelin' On With The Weavers')

  • [1992:] Written 1986. - A true story about a young black man being executed in a South African prison a few years ago. As they dragged him along the corridor to the gallows, all the other black men from their cells in the prison, started to sing a freedom song to him. It must have been the last sound he heard as they hung him. (Notes 'The Eric Bogle Songbook 2')

  • See also
    http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=11663
    http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=38641

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