I had my Pandora set to one of my Irish stations at work yesterday and was singing along, as I do, when this song came up. I had to take a break because it came at the end of a long succession of sad songs--the bit about leaving a wife or sweetheart behind gets me every time. But that's okay, because crying at my desk is totally a thing I do now, even if it frightens the coworkers.
"Green Fields of France" is sad from beginning to end, not the least because its message of the never-ending nature of war. Willie McBride's death didn't help every generation since, no matter how badly he may have hoped it would:
But here in this graveyard that's still no man's landI learned this song from The High Kings, most likely on PBS, since that's where I tend to see The High Kings, but plenty of Irish bands sing it.
The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
To man's blind indifference to his fellow man
And a whole generation were butchered and damned
And I can't help but wonder oh Willy McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause
Did you really believe that this war would end wars
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing and dying it was all done in vain
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again
Related to my other interests: Someone's done a Les Misérables version of this song. Yes, please. Also, if you like The High Kings, see an entire show here (I believe this is the one that's usually on PBS).