The Redeemed

I saw him pass from the busy press

Of a downtown street in his battle dress

Swinging his arms as he marched along

Whistling the Beer Barrel Polka song

Head held high and the rhythmic beat

Of his bob-nailed shoes on the busy street

Steady his eyes and his face of tan

And I knew that my country had made a man


I thought of his years just after school

When his only attention was dice and pool

Then later a date with a jitterbug Jane

Poker and cards and the sucker's game

Bootleg gin and a 2 bit flop

He has gone on the road where it's hell to stop

When it's all down hill and a one way track

And a damned high grade on the long way back


I thought of our leaders of bygone years

Raving of freedom their dread and their fears

Of teaching boys war forbidding them drill

Claiming it gave them the best to kill

And our boys were denied oh God the sin

To walk in order and discipline


So our jobless lad just joined a gang

While our preachers preached and church bells rang

Our leaders' clubs I can hear them yet

Condemning with horror the school cadet

And mouthing the sacrifice tiresome prate

Of a uniform teaching the boys to hate

Don't let us forget we're all to blame

For a neglected youth and a nation's shame


So today he passed and he'll never guess

How splendid he looked in his battle dress

Swinging his arms as he tramped on by

Singing his song with his head held high

Marching to glory with rifle and kit

One in a million to do his bit

I stood on there with my shoulders straight

As he passed from sight through the station gate

Perhaps he'll come back when his battle's won

Praise to God My Son My Son


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