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The Sign

This song is by Eric Bogle and appears on the album Endangered Species (2000).

In the summer of last year, in a city* far from here
That stands on the shores of the fair Pacific sea
I walked it's pleasant streets, no view in mind, no one to meet
Content to wander where my aimless feet led me

A few streets from my hotel, I passed an old stone wall
Where three words had been scrawled by an unknown hand
When I read them I stopped dead, in disbelief I shook my head
For the words on that wall read, "Free Bobby Sands"

As the sun began to fall, and the day began to die
Thought I heard the wild geese call, from a dark and empty sky
For long minutes I stood there, in that busy thoroughfare
While the past rose sharp and clear in my mind's eye

I saw it all again, the passion, hate, and pain
The indifference and the shame as a young man died
But it was all so long ago, and who now cares or knows
Why Bobby Sands chose his lonely death?

But to the one who wrote that sign,
It seems that Bobby's light still shines
The words rang from another time,
But the paint was fresh

As the sun began to fall, and the day began to die
Thought I heard the wild geese call, from a dark and empty sky
So I went down to the sea, to let it's wild song comfort me
But my thoughts would not let me be, and unchecked they ran

Through my future, present, and past,
Not for the first time nor the last
I heard them ask, "Could you be the kind of man
Who would gladly sacrifice everything, even life
And put no price on a cause, or an ideal?"
No answer echoed in my heart, so I turned and I walked back
Through the twilight's deepening dark, to my hotel.

Historical NoteEdit

Bobby Sands, MP, was imprisoned in 1981 under criminal charges stemming from his alleged involvement in IRA terrorist activities in Ulster Province (Northern Ireland). Mr. Sands, along with 20 other alleged IRA members in prison awaiting trial, went on a hunger strike to protest inhumane conditions in the prison, and to have the IRA members reclassified as "political prisoners". The hunger strike lasted more than 60 days, resulting in the deaths of many of the prisoners, of which Mr. Sands was the first to succumb.

  • Auckland, New Zealand

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