Audie Murphy; poems and songs

Where Has Freedom Gone?

Where Has Freedom Gone?
Dusty old helmet, rusty old gun,
they sit in the corner and wait.
Two souvenirs of the Second World War
that have withstood the time and the hate.

Many times I’ve wanted to ask them,
and now that we’re here all alone,
Relics all three of a long ago war,
“Where has freedom gone?”

Mute witness to a time of much trouble,
where kill or be killed was the law.
Were these implements used with high honour?
What was the glory they saw?

“Freedom flies in your heart like an eagle,
let it soar with the high winds above.
Among the spirits of soldiers now sleeping,
guard it with care and with love.”

I salute my old friends in the corner,
I agree with all they have said,
And if the moment of truth comes tomorrow,
I’ll be free, or by God, I’ll be dead.

Alone and Far Removed

Alone and far removed from earthly care
The noble ruins of men lie buried here.
You were strong men, good men
Endowed with youth and the will to live
I hear no protest from the mute lips of the dead.
They rest; there is no more to give.

So long my comrades,
Sleep ye where you fell upon the field.
But tread softly please
March o’er my heart with ease
March on and on,
But to God alone we kneel.

The Crosses Grow On Anzio

The Crosses Grow On Anzio
Oh, gather ’round me, comrades,
and listen while I speak;
Of a war, a war, a war —
where hell is six feet deep.

Along the shore, the cannons roar.
Oh how can a soldier sleep?
The going’s slow on Anzio
and hell is six feet deep.

Praise be to God for this captured sod
that’s rich where blood does seep;
With yours and mine, like butchered swine;
and hell is six feet deep.

That death does wait there’s no debate;
no triumph will we reap
The crosses grow on Anzio,
where hell is six feet deep.

Notes from Wikipedia
From the biography of Audie Murphy the film star and actor and war hero.

David McClure, his collaborator on the book To Hell and Back about his war time experiences, discovered Murphy’s talent for poetry during their work on the memoir when he found discarded verses in Murphy’s Hollywood apartment. One of those poems, “The Crosses Grow on Anzio”, appears in To Hell and Back attributed to a soldier named Kerrigan. Only two others survived, “Alone and Far Removed” and “Freedom Flies in Your Heart Like an Eagle”. The latter was part of a speech Murphy had written at a 1968 dedication of the Alabama War Memorial in Montgomery, and later set to music by Scott Turner under the title “Dusty Old Helmet”.

Murphy was a fan of country music, in particular Bob Wills and Chet Atkins, but was not a singer or musician himself. Through his friend Guy Mitchell, Murphy was introduced to songwriter Scott Turner in 1961. The two collaborated on numerous songs between 1962 and 1970, the most successful of which was “Shutters and Boards” and “When the Wind Blows in Chicago”.

Audie murphy

Personal notes.

I’ve always been a fan of the Western film. And Audie Murphy’s achievements in this genre have intrigued me recently. And then I find out about his poems and songwriting collaborations. His poems are noble and almost Shakespearian in paers, eg The Historic plays and their soliloquies by kings in battle. Also there is the tradition of war poetry to which these belong to .

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