Song for Basra

If I could sing a song for every bomb that flies
I’d sing each and all the days
If there were to be a verse for every dying child’s cries
For every helpless father’s gaze
If I wrote a love letter to each corpse as it is carried
I’d never still my pen
If I had to stop a moment for each one that’s been buried
I’d never move again
And the stocks are going up in some safe place in America
Sing a song for Basra

If I could shed a tear for every home that bombs destroy
I’d never stop crying
If every broken brick were a heart of a little girl or boy
All the world’s children would be sighing
If I could hold each shattered body, each baby stilled at birth
I’d have no time for loneliness
I’d spend all my time embracing the people of this savaged earth
Feeling the poisoned wind’s caress
And the billionaires are laughing in some safe place in America
Sing a song for Basra

If each barren pharmacy were a woman’s shining eyes
I’d fall in love forever
If every bombed-out kindergarten were a factory in disguise
Wouldn’t that be clever
But bricks are only bricks, and dust is only dust
And death is all around
Each day another missile falls and sometimes the only thing to trust
Is the shaking of the ground
And they’re loading up the warplanes in some safe place in America
Sing a song for Basra

Sheet music for this song may be found inĀ Songbook Vol I (1997-2004).

“Song for Basra” originally appeared on the 2001 CD, Living in These Times, and the following year on the CD, Hang A Flag in the Window.

One of the songs I wrote years before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, about the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990’s that killed so many people, along with the intermittent bombings of the country carried out by the US Air Force throughout the Bill Clinton administration.