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GUEST,The Barden of England sans cookie Lyr Req: As If He Knows (Eric Bogle) (8) Lyr Add: AS IF HE KNOWS (Eric Bogle) 25 Sep 08

Do you mean this?

Eric Bogle

It's as if he knows
He's standing close to me
His breath warm on my sleeve
His head hung low
It's as if he knows
What the dawn will bring
The end of everything
For my old Banjo
And all along the picket lines beneath the desert sky
The light horsemen move amongst their mates to say one last goodbye
And the horses stand so quietly
Row on silent row
It's as if they know

Time after time
We rode through shot and shell
We rode in and out of Hell
On their strong backs
Time after time
They brought us safely through
By their swift sure hooves
And their brave hearts
Tomorrow we will form up ranks and march down to the quay
And sail back to our loved ones in that dear land across the sea
While our loyal and true companions
Who asked so little and gave so much
Will lie dead in the dust

For the orders came
No horses to return
We were to abandon them
To be slaves
After all we'd shared
And all that we'd been through
A nation's gratitude
Was a dusty grave
For we can't leave them to the people here, we'd rather see them dead
So each man will take his best mate's horse with a bullet through the head
For the people here are like their land
Wild and cruel and hard
So Banjo, here's your reward

It's as if he knows
He's standing close to me
His breath warm upon my sleeve
His head hung low
It's as if he knows.

these are Eric's notes from the cd Colur of Dreams:

During WWI, Australia shipped about 53,000 horses overseas to serve in the various theatres of that war. Of that number, only one returned to Australia at the end of the war, and it was, of course, a General's favourite mount. The rest, or at least the survivors of that original 53,000, were not allowed to return home mainly because of quarantine restrictions, it was feared they could spread anthreax and similar diseases throughout Australia's cattle industry. So the ANZACS were ordered to get rid of what horses they had left. In the European theatre of war many of the horses were sold or given to French and Belgian farmers and peasants and such like. But in Palestine the Light Horsemen refused to either give or sell their horses to the local Arab population, as they thought that the Arabs in general treated their animals with dreadful cruelty. Mind you, I can't think of anything more cruel than subjecting innocent horses to the horrors of modern warfare, but i guess those were the prevailing attitudes of the times. So, rather than leave their horses to a lifetime of slavery, as they saw it, the Light Horsemen shot them. Each man shot his best mate's horse, and that was that. I wrote this song after reading an Anzac Day newspaper artivle about an old veteran Light Horsemen called Elijah Conn, who was talking about his horse, Banjo, and how his best mate shot Banjo just before they marched off to the ship that was waiting to take them home to Australia. Even after 70 years, Elijah's eyes filled with tears when talking about it. This song is for Elijah and Banjo. Sorry to take up so much of your time with this little story, but it's one that deserves to be heard I think.

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