Friday, August 21, 2009

The Free Parade

Long ago in ancient Ireland
A miracle occurred, they say.
When all the serpents and the vipers
Were banished clean away.

Walk today if you're for freedom.
Stay at home if you've been paid
Purged of hypocrites and traitors
Is this St. Patrick's Day parade.

Now today in New York City
The miracle has been replayed,
For all the serpents have departed
From this St. Patrick's Day parade.

Keane and Moynihan and Carey
Will not be here with us today,
For Flannery, the new St. Patrick,
Has sent them slithering away.

Look around you at the faces,
Not a serpent will you see,
Irish men and Irish women
Today march proud and free.

words & tune by
Carole Rose Livingston (c) 1983)
(March 13th for March 17th)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Ballad of Bobby Sands

words and music by
Carole Rose Livingston (c) 1981

Inside the prison at Long Kesh
They threw Bobby Sands in his prime
For fighting to free his own country
The English they count it a crime

"I'll not be named a criminal or thief
By the thieves who have plundered our land
Not a morsel more of food or drink
Will I take from the tyrant's hand"

He held to his fast for sixty-six days
Till his young frame grew shriveled and old
But the weaker that his body became
The stronger the light of his soul

"We have battled before with the weapons of war
With the gun and the bomb and the knife
And Ireland's a colonized nation still
Now my weapon will be my life"

Bobby's mother came to his prison cell
She said, "Oh my son, I must try
To save your life, if ever I can
For how can I watch you die?"

"Oh mother, do not mourn for me
For I'm fighting to set Ireland free
I am making a gift to my country
Of the gift that you first gave to me.

"Oh sister, you loaned me your voice
When they silenced the sound of my own
And after I am dead and gone
You will speak out as loud and as strong"

He turned his body to the wall
And the breathing it left his face
But for every lad who perishes so
Another will take his place

Of heroes Ireland has more than her share
They are known throughout all of the lands
And in heaven now, Mac Swiney takes the hand
Of our brave young Bobby Sands.

As-salaam (round)

tune by
Carole Rose Livingston (c) 1988

As-salaam 'alaykum.
Wa-'alaykum as-salaam. (2x)

Peace be upon you.
And upon you be peace. (2x)

Ma as-salamah. (4x)

May you go in peace. (4x)

Introducing "As-salaam":

I wrote "As-salaam" because I think it is racist to imagine that Israelis yearn for peace and Palestinians don't.

"As-salaam" is in Arabic. It can be sung as a round, and it can be accompanied very effectively on an Arabic drum. You can also dance the hora, to "As-salaam." I did not write it this way by accident. The hora, a circle dance, is the national dance of Israel, and the unifying dance of Jews around the world. I'm truly hoping that what goes around comes around.

In 1989, the War Resisters League had a twleve-hour dance marathon--everything from salsa to square dancing. One portion of the event was a twelve-minute long "Peace Hora," danced to a medley of songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, and English. "As-salaam" was in the medley, along with "Hava Nagila," "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem," "Zum Gali Gali," "Shalom Chaverim," "Lomir Alle Freillach Zein," and another of my songs, "Shalom ve Salaam." On another memorable occasion, "As-salaam" was sung by the congregation at a Jewish feminist shabbot (sabbath) service.