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When The Boys Are On Parade

Marcus Turner
Here they come marching past the houses, shiny boots and khaki blouses, Stiff as the creases in their trousers, standing tall and straight and strong, And they all keep in step together, glint of steel, flash of leather, Braving every kind of weather as they boldly march along. You may dismiss it as a ploy for the enlistment of the boys Who’ll be impressed to see the toys and play the games that can be played, CHORUS: And you may well prefer abstention, but I feel compelled to mention You’d do well to pay attention when the boys are on parade. Look at your sons. Before they’re older, they’ll be stronger, they’ll be bolder — Just the things to make a soldier, and we’ll turn them into men, And they’ll be taught to follow orders, keep the peace and guard the borders, To protect us from marauders and defend us to the end. But the position they’ll be filling is to be able and be willing To be killed or do the killing when there’s a price that must be paid, In the pursuit of a community of decency and unity And equal opportunity, we stand prepared to fight, And if there’s a threat to our position from aggressive opposition Then, with guns and ammunition, we’ll repel with all our might. We’ll dehumanize and hate them, send in the troops to decimate them, As in the name of the nation all it stands for is betrayed, Merely the whim or intuition of an elected politician Makes a mêlée without condition as the monster leaves its cage. It’s a machine that knows no quarter, dealing death and sowing slaughter, Raping mothers, wives and daughters in an all-consuming rage. We may well believe we need it, and we’ll pay to arm and feed it, But can you tell me who will lead it when the decisions must be made? Some will wonder what’s to fear, and say there is no danger here, But there’s never been a year when soldiers haven’t been at war; And the eternal executions and the bloody revolutions And the ultimate solutions, too, have all been seen before. And there’s always someone scheming, and some nights when I am dreaming, In the distance I hear screaming, in my heart I feel afraid, Here they come marching past the houses, shiny boots and khaki blouses, Stiff as the creases in their trousers, standing tall and straight and strong, And is it any cause for pride that now the women march beside them? Will they have wiser gods to guide them in discerning right from wrong? Cause every step is a reminder of the threat that lies behind If we forget the ties that bind us when the decisive game is played, And as the procession passes by, consider the sight before your eyes, ’Cause it’ll be you they’ll kill and die for when they are called to the crusade, And you may love them and adore them, you may hate them and abhor them, But for God’s sake don’t ignore them when the boys are on parade.

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