Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shut Up and Sing

Steve Earle is one of those guys whose worldview (at least as revealed through his music) is so diametrically opposed to mine that we probably couldn't even start, let alone sustain, a conversation. Still, Warrior is one of my favorite songs, for reasons that ol' Steve could probably never fathom. It's the song that wakes me up when my iPod goes off at the ass-crack of dawn. Below, first and last verses:
This is the best time of the day—the dawn
The final cleansing breath unsullied yet
By acrid fume or death’s cacophony
The rank refuse of unchained ambition
And pray, deny me not but know me now,
Your faithful retainer stands resolute
To serve his liege lord without recompense
Perchance to fall and perish namelessly
No flag-draped bier or muffled drum to set
The cadence for a final dress parade
But it was not always thus—remember?
Once you worshipped me and named me a god
In many tongues and made offering lest
I exact too terrible a tribute

Oh, for another time, a distant field
And there a mortal warrior’s lonely grave
But duty charges me remain until
The end the last battle of the last war
Until that ‘morrow render unto me
That which is mine my stipend well deserved
The fairest flower of your progeny
Your sons, your daughters your hopes and your dreams
The cruel consequence of your conceit

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