Songs of Will T. Massey — “A Rose”

flag w roseThis tune comes from Will’s first independent release in 1987, Pickin’, Poker, and Pick-up Trucks.

Growing up in the post-Vietnam era, Will had admired both Bruce Springsteen and Ronald Reagan. This song shows his growing skepticism of patriotic jingoism along with a burgeoning pacifism he would express more fully in his 2008 album, Wayward Lady.

My best friend
Never knew his dad.
There’s a medal on his wall,
That’s all he ever had.
We’d go drinking,
He’d start talking
About the war, his dad, and his dreams.
’69 rolled around,
Johnny turned 18.

The headlines broke and the letters were wrote.
His Mama started to cry.
With glory-bound eyes,
He packed his Pa’s old knife
Kissed his Mama good-bye
And he promised to write.

Singing hey, hey, hey,
I’m from the USA.
My father fought
And I’m going to fight the same way.
To the red, white, and blue,
I swear to be true.
I love this land,
I’ll do what I’m told to do.

Well, they took off his hair, took his Levis, too.
Gave him a rifle and some combat boots.
Rushed him through boot camp,
And after 6 weeks,
They stuck him on a plane
And rushed him overseas.

Inspirational films and general’s machines
Blew up in his face
With the first air raids.
A village on fire and children dead —
A woman raped with a bullet in her head.

He wrote me, “Hey, hey, why?
Innocent people die.
A beautiful cause and I hear the children cry.
To the red, white, and blue,
I swore I’d be true.
We ain’t fightin’ to win,
We’re just laying down lives to lose.”

They delivered the message,
First class to the door.
She read in silence,
Like years before.
With a stonewall face,
She laid it in her safe
On top of the one from the Second World War
And they shot their guns and gave a salute.
And they laid him in the ground
And gave her a flag, too,
Yeah, she took it in her arms
Like a cross to bear.
In an empty house,
She rocks alone in her chair.
Johnny’s voice pounds everywhere…

She hears him singing, “Hey, hey, hey,
I’m from the USA.
My father fought
And I’m going to fight the same way.
To the red, white, and blue,
I swear to be true.
I love this land,
I’ll do what I’m told to do.

Hey, hey, why?
Innocent people die.
A beautiful cause and I hear the children cry.
To the red, white, and blue,
I swore I’d be true.
We ain’t fightin’ to win,
We’re just laying down lives to lose.”

Hey, hey, hey,
I’m from the USA.
Come with me,
Lay a rose
On an early grave.

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
This entry was posted in Will T. Massey and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.