When The Boys Are On Parade

 

Here they come marching past the houses, shiny boots and khaki blouses
Stiff as the creases in their trousers standing tall and straight and strong
And they all keep in step together glint of steel and flash of leather
Braving every kind of weather as they boldly march along
You may dismiss it as a ploy for the enlistment of the boys
Who’ll be impressed to see the toys and play the games that can be played
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You’d do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.

Look at your sons before they’re older they’ll be stronger they’ll be bolder
Just the thing to make a soldier and we’ll turn them into men
And they’ll be taught to follow orders, keep the peace and guard the borders
To protect us from marauders and defend us to the end.
But the position they’ll be filling is to be able and be willing
To be killed or do the killing when there’s a price that must be paid
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You’d do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.

In the pursuit of a community of decency and unity
And equal opportunity we stand prepared to fight
And if there’s a threat to our position from aggressive opposition
The with guns and ammunition we’ll defend with all our might.
We’ll dehumanise and hate them send in the troops to decimate them
As in the name of the Nation all it stands for is betrayed
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You’d do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.

Merely the whim or intuition of an elected politician
Makes a melee without conditions as the monster quits the cage
Its a machine that knows no quarter dealing death and sowing slaughter
Raping mothers, wives and daughters in an all consuming rage
We may well decide we need it and we’ll pay to arm and feed it
But can you tell me who will lead it when the decisions must be made
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You’d do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.

Some will wonder what’s to fear and say there is no danger here
But there has never been a year when Soldiers haven’t been at war
And the eternal executions and the bloody revolutions
And the ultimate solutions too have all been seen before.
And there’s always someone scheming and sometimes at night when dreaming
In the distance I hear screaming and in my heart I feel afraid
And you may well prefer abstention but I feel compelled to mention
You’d do well to pay attention when the Boys are on Parade.

By Marcus Turner

“Marcus Turner is a very clever songwriter from Dunedin, New Zealand. We saw in the 1999 New Year together at the Whare Flat Festival where I heard him sing this song. Whare Flat is the first Festival that takes place in the Calendar year. It is small and friendly. No “them” and “us” like at some bigger festivals. Just “us”…”

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