And Ever the Pyres of the Dead Burn Thick

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I. And Ever the Pyres of the Dead Burn Thick
Great Phoebus Apollo
Unbend your silver bow for mankind is weary of the slaughter
The proud the meek, the foolish and the wise
The guilty and the innocent alike
Die beneath your vengeful shafts
And never is there an end to the hot blood smell

This woman now of Port Said
Barefoot in her dress of rusty black
Mounting a basket on her head with cans of food raided from some sacked store
Or flaming army dump
Buys perhaps another week of life for herself and orphaned brood
What is the crime of such as she
Condemned to suffer so?

II. Report to Herod
Sir, resistance was encountered
from a bomb crater made by a B-52
and so a private in my patrol
threw a grenade into the crater
but somebody threw it back and it blew up
and injured three of my men
I went myself then and took a grenade
pulled the pin and waited just long enough
before lobbing it into the crater
That put an end to the resistance
we checked in there
and found one dead VC baby
three VC kids also dead
and two VC women one still living with her left leg blown off
Sir, the chaplain asked me
if I'd serve mass for him again tomorrow
OK, sir, if I go?

III. Viaticum
It was a heartfelt confession
Perhaps the most contrite I ever heard
I found a small spot on his cheek where I could anoint him
All the rest of his poor body being burned
His death, I think, was happy
But what a pity
Just 22, and his life ahead of him
A human torch
He said we’d burned so many with our napalm he wanted us to know what it was really like.
Fantastic how the young get things mixed up
It comes from reading
But he repented honestly and made a Christian end.


from The Singles - Season 4, track released October 18, 2011
cover art: The Dead by Kristie Lee
poetry by: John Beecher
Conrad St. Clair: bass, keys, percussion, spoken word, programming
Mike Stehr: keys, percussion
Lou Caldarola: drum kit
Brent Davies: guitar
Tone Deaf: spoken word
Edi Gbordzi: percussion
Tim Gruber: percussion
Chris Huntington: guitar
Beaker Parpovich: guitar
Ben Surman: MIDI wind synth
Djam Vivie: percussion


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