A Civilised Word



Robert Wyatt / Jo Bogaert

They heard restless stirring down wilderness way
and a something that filled them with fear
and a deep dismay
It could steal all the children
consume the civilized world
Something had to be done to contain
destroy whatever it was
Over the moat over the wall
in through the windows and under the bed
«It could take away our freedom and our television
our right to reply and then again
drive a tank through our back yard»
They started to cut back on welfare and schools
Defence a priority oyer every local need
They were armed and fully briefed ready to go
There was 'no time to lose it was never or now
eyeryone agreed or it would come up.
Over the moat over the wall
Undermine all our values overnight
The advance guard crept out before dawn's dirty light
Behind them the safety of everything they knew
Shuffles and whispers they shared in the dark
Everything else held a breath in the secretive night
Then a bellow rang out like a giant in fear
they froze on the spot 'til the cause was clear
At a word from - the leader they began to surge
Seeing nothing, but blundering on firing blindly ahead
They ran up
Over the top over the hill
the enemy hill
They were too sudden for the beast to fight back
with any real effect
Still they fought on finished the job
no sense in leaving before they were done
But soon enough the enemy was totally silent
The first morning sunlight turned dewdrops to steam
They woke up to look all around them
At the first they saw little
apart from the muddy meadow all about
Making them feel rather queasy
'Cause there were no weapons at all in the enemy camp
Not a sign of anything you could call a bomb
Nothing even like a grown-up gun
Back through their moat and
over their wall
The men returned
Another Victory.

Robert Wyatt / Jo Bogaert

        Departed    Lying under the bed    Left the habit
        of breathing    without motive or reason
        to breathe at all    without a hope in hell
        you just    live there    still remembering
        all the    stupid incidents or at least a few
        you can't believe it all goes on
        day in and day out    as if driven
        just for the sake of going on
        with no target in view
And every morning the sun obscures a darker truth
beyond its reach    appearing to outline
        horizons that are
Definite. Hiding the endless. Hiding the endlessness Walking the water    praying to stone dead men Defeated hiding under the bedrock of age
Still the habit of breathing
Decomposing the air on a G-string
a long way to go.    Either way
        Hiding the endless.    Hiding the endlessness
        treading the fine line
        Paying to seem less dead
        Ha Ha Ha Ha Ah Ah Ah Ah
Unplacated or defeated    it's so hard to say
in the end. Breeding endless slight variations
of unchanging laws of chance
        Aleatory endgame plans    From the middle,
        the front, a little sideways and then
        right back to the starting bloc
        wavering exhausted until you feel the pressure
        in your skull.

Illustration : Jean-Michel Marchetti

Robert Wyatt / Jo Bogaert

For you / for me / for you
the noble heroes of freedom
For me / for you / for you / for me and
just for us / for you / for me
they saved the world
The bankers of the world unite
for you / for we
the bombers oí the western world
unload for us the soldiers of fortune
high flyers
opened new markets
Rolled back the frontiers
Heroes of freedom they were
heroes of marketing our

Soldiers of fortune

Heroes of freedom
Heroes of freedom because

They for me / for you / for you / for me
That's why they bombed old Trípoli for you / for me
They bombed Bengazi too.

Soldiers of fortune

Heroes of freedom straight up
Heroes of freedom

For you / for me / for me / for you
They brought Angola to its knees
For you / for me
more of the same to Mozambique
for me / for you
and Guatemala, Haïtí
For you / for me
Ground to a halt reduced to clear