Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available
Sean Sullivan (Bill Black) My name it is Sean Sullivan From Clonakilty in West Cork I came to the States in sixty-five To work with my brother out in New York But times were hard, and jobs were scarce No money to go home, and no reason to stay My brother went off to become a priest And I joined the army the very next day I heard: "Boy, won't you help us to fight for our country? Its freedom and honor are yours to uphold" - The same bloody line they've been using for centuries: "Shake hands with the sergeant And take the queen's gold!" So I bid farewell to my youthful joys The girls, the friends, the drink, the craic Good-bye to the Bronx and away with me To a soldier's life - no turning back I well recall the day I left: It rained like it couldn't rain any more I slept on the bus and I dreamed of things I'd never thought much about before- I was marching up Broadway with the Sixty-Ninth Regiment. Some bold decorations all agleam on my chest John Wayne made a speech thanking me for my bravery And Patton, all smiles called me one of his best! At camp they gave me a bag and a gun And tools designed for death and pain They taught me to crawl, to jump, and to run And to curse the sun, and the wind, and the rain They called me "Paddy," "Mick," and worse They kicked my arse and shaved my head Potatoes reminded me of home I peeled them until I was damn near dead Then they said: "Boy, now you're ready to fight for our country But don't make a fuss - stay cool and stay calm! You'll have plenty of chances to be a real soldier 'Cause you're leaving tomorrow For a place called Viet Nam..." Now the plane was like a cattle car We flew all night and all next day I kept wondering why the hell we had to fight If Viet Nam was so far away We landed at last in some jungle place That someone said was near Saigon Machine guns and mortars were firing close by And something unpleasant was going on And the thought crossed my mind of the Wild Geese of Ireland Who had left all behind to fight other men's wars- How the dead will live on in the songs and the photographs And the living can boast of their pensions and scars Well, I spent a year in that awful place Shooting at things I could never see And learning how to hate and fear The things out there shooting back at me It was during one ambush near Rhe Sanh I took a hit, and damn near died Then the pain went away and I dreamed of home But awoke with the chaplain kneeling by my side I was a month on my back before I found out what happened: Seems I'd been caught in between our snipers and theirs And slugs from the both sides had messed me up royally Wish to hell I'd stayed out of Other people's affairs! But they needed the bed, so I got released With one arm, three medals, and the G.I. Bill I could get a green card if I completed their forms But right about then I had had my fill Said I "No thanks, 'cause I'm headed home To a family waiting since I went away - You can keep Viet Nam, you can keep the Bronx I'm going back to Ireland with a veteran's pay And I'11 give you my address back home in Clonakilty All the postmen will know me, of that there's no doubt And it's happy they'll be to be making delivery Of those checks you'll keep sending Till your money runs out! Well, it's twenty years on, and the Lord's been kind I've gotten by the best I can I bought me a farm, some sheep and cows And married a Glare girl named Bridget McGann When I lost my pills and near went mad she helped me through and shared the pain When I'd scream myself awake from dreams I never heard my wife complain And twenty years on, I'm no longer a hero And people are used to the missing right arm - If a stranger inquires, I say 'twas an accident Can happen to any man running a farm When the kids are grown, we'll take a trip Across to Washington, D.C. And we'll visit the Wall and we'll read the names Of the lads who weren't as lucky as me And we'll cry for men that I never knew The same as they would cry for me: So much was lost, and nothing gained That's never the way it was meant to be... Words and music: Bill Black copyright 1990 Sunphone Ltd. RG OCT98
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!