Another WW1 story

From the Youtube link:

I don’t mean to infringe on copyrights of artists, especially not respected ones like the Incredible String band, but I felt I should publish this track because of the strange tale attached to its origins. A tale that can be traced back to Rotterdam, my hometown. ‘Darling Belle’ is the final track of the Incredible String Band’s album ‘Liquid Acrobat As Regards The Air’ (1971). It was written by Robin Williamson, who said about this song: “I wrote ‘Darling Belle’ very quickly; or rather, wrote it down very quickly. I was lying in a hotel room in Rotterdam just before I fell asleep, and I began to hear these voices outside my head, and they were telling the story of Belle and James. Two voices, a man and a woman, and of what they said I jotted down fragments and the following morning I wrote parts of the song; about four months later I wrote the rest. It only lasted a few moments.

Papa would take me to the park to see the swans
By hansom cab trotting so high
Holding his hand to see the swans
Hissing louder than rustling dresses of gracious ladies bustling by

See swan ships come sailing in
White as the clouds on a windy day

James I suppose would be in school
James I suppose would be in school

I was I was learning to spell laughing at loud smells
Avoiding the rod of the cod faced master
Was it your absence made me quiet at noon?
Playing British Bulldogs on the gravel
Was it your presence colored my dream?

I burrowed in cupboards like a mole all Saturday
Under old chairs and old ladies knees
I framed your half remembered face
With frail white embroideries

Calling for you down the mousy garden
Calling for you down the mousy garden

O did you meet him at the ball? Eighteen years on
Tall soldier now and you full grown
Belle did you meet him at the ball?
Belle did you meet him at the ball?

O do you remember me? Thin girl with cold hands
You in your scarlet and you knew my name
Step to the veranda under the wisteria in the mysterious November

Dancing as if with death or fate to the moon black ballroom
Of the silk skinned lake
Kissing me you lifted my skirt under the willow trees

Keep the home fires burning though your heart is yearning
Though the boys are far away they dream of home
There’s a silver lining in the dark clouds shining
Turn that lining inside out till the boys come home

Did I see you march to the train? Did I cry was my nose red?
My two day bride can you feel me in your memory?
I will be the redness in your iron fire
How could I write? My words would seem sad or gay

We regret to inform you
We regret to inform you
We regret to inform you

Meet me by gaslight in the dark dawn
On waterloo bridge we will walk arm in arm
Hearing the leaves fall with whisper into the foggy dew
When we are dead, when we are dead

Now she sits in her brother’s widow’s house
Her skin like a lizard her aura like a daffodil
Sits like a sign in the children’s chair
Migrant guest from relative to in-law
She stares into the embers

Details of my daughter’s short film “Long Lost”, and to support crowd funding see:

Long Lost, a WW1 short film – crowd funding site


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