The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87624   Message #1637352
Posted By: Charlie Baum
30-Dec-05 - 10:07 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Halifax (Chuck Hall)
Subject: Lyr Add: HALIFAX (Chuck Hall/Trad Newfoundland)
The song is available at

--Charlie Baum

Webpage contents copied below:


(Words:Chuck Hall, Music: Trad. Newfoundland)

I first learned about the Halifax Disaster at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax in 2001. It was hard to face my own ignorance of such a stunning event, especially being from Boston, which had such a large role to play in the recovery of Halifax. I could honestly not ever recall anyone explaining why the citizens of Nova Scotia gifted the citizens of Boston with a Christmas tree every year.

Dedicated to the folks at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, to the remaining survivors of the greatest man made explosion recorded before Hiroshima, and to those who were so quick to lend aid to a neighbor in time of need. May we never forget.


My Grandfather received the news at 12:00 that day
He closed his doctor's office and sent everyone away
He rushed straight home and gathered all the clothing he could pack
And took me with him on the train that went to Halifax

We were among the hundred souls to crowd into the car
I was the only child allowed seated at the bar
We waited for the blankets to be loaded in the back
Still unprepared for what we'd see when we reached Halifax

I asked my Granddad doctor why it was he was so sad
He turned his face away from mine and said, "You'll understand..."
I pieced the truth together as I over heard the facts
There was a great disaster had befallen Halifax

The year was 1917, in the first great war
Two ships collided in the Narrows and drifted in to shore
With thousands drawn to see this thing, they blew up with such might
Near half the city was destroyed in a fireball of light

Hundreds then were blinded by glass and by debris
The tidal wave it swept away some who died instantly
That night the heavens tried to hide the horror of this show
The city smoldered underneath a brand new foot of snow

When we arrived in Halifax, a cloud hung in the air
The oil, the fire, the flesh, the flood, the stench was everywhere
Grandfather took me to a church where the wounded lay
And said, "God has given us a work in Halifax today."

And I still recall the children, now they were orphans who
Were without homes and parents and so close to Christmas, too
After seven days we packed our bags and turned and headed home
As relief poured in to Halifax from Boston and beyond

The many years that have since passed have not dimmed memory
The horror of that awful scene is still so fresh to me
But the people of the Commonwealth asked for nothing back
When they went north to help rebuild the port of Halifax

Now each year when Christmas comes, it all comes back to me
They set the Nova Scotia spruce for everyone to see
My daughter's daughter sits upon my shoulders and she claps
When Boston's Christmas tree is lit -- a gift from Halifax

Then joyful voices carry out our carols to the skies
Thousands gather every year but most can't tell you why
So many can't remember what so many can't forget
And the Halifax disaster is commemorated yet
The Halifax Disaster -- we will not forget

Chuck Hall: vocal
Kristen Miller: cello
Thomas Eaton: various and sundry keyboards
(c)2003 Chuck Hall. Lyrics reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.