The Hales of Henry Street

Intro:
A king, and a Tsar, and their cousin a Kaiser
Had a falling out one day
Whose was the biggest? Now we’re none the wiser
But a whole world had to pay …

Sky-high, the blasted tree-trunks fly
Flayed hills are busted drums
Children in muddy pits and craters die
Howling for their mums

God’s will be done with a maxim gun
And the barbed-wired baby warriors
Stay crucified, they couldn’t outrun
The hymns or the howitzers

And mine is a mouth as ample as any
But the melody is just too sweet
For the umpteen-a-penny little agonies
Of the Hales of Henry Street
The Hales of Henry Street

For the ghosts in the forward listening post
A century unheard
In my hidey-hole at the heart’s utmost
I’m desperate for a word

A word for the sons who will no longer climb
Up and out or back or through
Beyond the slime one final time
For this last talking to

And mine is a mouth as mealy as many
Ever careful and discrete
As those who promised milk and honey
For the Hales of Henry Street
The Hales of Henry Street

‘That’s a cue for a ditty,’ sings Long Dead of Donny
The rats about his feet
A rag and bone-tongued harmony
For the Hales of Henry street

And wasn’t he the fighter against tyranny?
The cream of the elite
Who never caught the irony
Or rumbled the deceit?

And some see a glorious victory
Others all-around defeat
And only a mucky bit of Picardy
For the Hales of Henry Street

And one day the likes of you and me
Will be in the driving seat
And war a thing of history
Like the Hales of Henry Street
The Hales of Henry Street

For life should be more than the scramble for money
And this or that receipt
And who might be top cock in the colony
For history can repeat

It can and does repeat

The joy and the pride of the company
Were the Hales of Henry Street
The Hales of Henry Street

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