I dedicate this CD to institutionalized children everywhere.

800 Voices
It was 1955 and my ma and da had broken up. With poor health and five children it was all too much for Ma. She was persuaded by neighbors and the ISPCC to hand us over to the "care" of the State. We were placed in separate orphanages; my two younger sisters in Booterstown, my infant twin brothers in Rathdrum and myself in Artane Industrial School. Ma didn’t have the heart to tell me what was really going on. As she left me At the orphanage gates, she told me she was sick with TB and had to go into hospital for a while but she would be back for me at Christmas.

800 Voices echo, ’cross the gray playground
Shouts of fights and God knows what, I still can hear that sound
With their hobnail boots and rough tweed, angry seas of brown and green
The toughest god forsaken bunch that I had ever seen

I was taken ’cross the schoolyard, in the cold December morn
Through the games of ball and the wrestling kids, all fighting to stay warm
There I handed in my trousers and my khaki gabardine
Fare well to the last reminders of a home in smithereens

Well, they marched us down to breakfast and they marched us up to bed
And the hobnail boots on the iron stairs was enough to wake the dead
And after mass on Sundays with the brass band playing fine
We would march with the rebel battle hymns sending shivers up your spine

“How long will you be here for?” said the big lad on the wall
“I’ve got eight more years to go,“ said I, and he laughed till I thought he’d fall
“ Well I’m outa here next week, “ said he, “ but before your time is soon”
“There’ll be raisins in the holy communion, son, there’ll be walkin’ on the moon”

“I’ll be back for you this Christmas,” I could hear my mammy say
And the bitter truth within that lie I’ve yet to face today
When it gets too much for feeling you just bury it somehow
And that eight year old abandoned lad still waits for her right now

The Jesuits came round now and then to sing their songs of hell
And we’d be pissin’ in our breeches for we knew that place right well
But a spark of sweet devotion found me, it sings in my heart still
But it took me years to shake the guilt of the cross upon the hill

Marked black by the Christian Brothers who stole away my breath
Marked black by their straps of leather an inch away from death
Some were only lads themselves, one or two were saints
But two many grim abusers had no compassion or restraint

Then there was Brother Joe O’Connor gave me music strength and pride
He was almost like a father but he was quick to tan your hide
And the memories now are bitter sweet, I’ve dropped that heavy load
And 800 voices cheer me on as I’m walkin’ down the road

The Bold Christian Brothers
There was nothing easy going about the games on the playground. The lads went about the business of play with a grim determination which thrilled and scared me. I made loyal friends and sworn enemies, most of whom lasted for years. My new best friend, Blawka, advised to join the school band. "It's the best you’ll make of this hell hole." I tell him it's not worth me while; "I'm going home at Christmas." It was a sleepless first night in dormitory #5. "Wake-up" is at 6.30 am; a Brother shouting his head off. With the panicky way the lads leapt out of bed, I knew I'd better move my skinny arse.

Come all ye young lads from Cork and from Dublin
From Wexford and Limerick from Kerry and Clare
Jump out of them beds all ye lazy good for nothings
Mush into the washroom as quick as you care
Yer mothers and fathers abandoned yer hides and they left your upbringing to others
They couldn’t take care of yer ugly backsides
So you’ll do as your told ’cos your bodies and souls
Now belong to the bold Christian Brothers

Come all ye young lads line up for the breakfast
For a big mug ’o tay and cold porridge and bread
The bread may be stale and the tay without sugar
But none of youse ever have been better fed
Ya come with the hunger and hate in your eyes and the weight of the world on your shoulders
But you’ll leave with a trade and religion me boys
And you’ll do as your told ‘cos your bodies and souls
Now belong to the bold Christian Brothers

Come all ye young lads you hopeless forgotten
You bullies and bowsies you tinkers and thieves
It’s here that ye’ll learn to be waxies and weavers
And bakers and tailors all busy as bees
The big world outside is the devils back yard and it’s our job to lift you above her
So we’ll treat you like dirt just to keep you on guard
And you’ll do as your told ’cos your bodies and souls
Now belong to the bold Christian Brothers

Come all ye young lads it’s time for the harvest
March out of the north gates and in to the fields
It’s been a great year for potatoes and carrots
But cabbage and turnips have seen better yields
We’ll sack all the spuds and we’ll gather the hay and we’ll clean out the barns for the winter
And we’ll sing the ould songs and we’ll drink lemonade
And we’ll do as we’re told ’cos our bodies and souls
Now belong to the bold Christian Brothers

When Tommy Bonner Sang
Tommy Bonner sang at Mass. Strong and true, his voice filled us all with hopes of better times. Years after Artane, I Googled him to no avail. So I wrote this song and put it on my website. Then in 2008 I get an email saying; "My name is Kevin Bonner. I think the man you are singing about is my father." Estranged from his dad, Kevin had Googled him and Artane, and within minutes he'd downloaded this song. That night Kevin called his dad for the first time in years. Tommy and I are now in touch again after half a century.

Early Mass that first black Sunday, I’m not praying very hard
Then he sings the most beautiful solo Kyrie and rips my soul apart
And tears that I’d held back for days came pouring down like rain
It wasn’t hard to let it all go
When Tommy Bonner sang

Forbidden to look round us in church, but I didn’t have a choice
I had to see what kind of human being stood behind that angel voice
And in his eyes you saw the place where prayer first began
And you knew that God was listening
When Tommy Bonner sang

Dark as any moonless night
Clean as morning dew
He sang as if to save his life while saving your life too
Well I never got to know him but I knew him just the same
Everybody knows you when you sing like Tommy sang

How cold it was that first long winter especially in the church
I remember how the radiator pipes froze up they said that they might burst
But even as your hands were swollen with red raw chilblains
Spring was just around the corner
When Tommy Bonner Sang

Repeat Chorus
Then one April Sunday morning early in the spring
I thought he must be sick with flu or something; he didn’t come to sing
And when the mass was over my heart fell to the floor
To hear that Tommy turned sixteen and left
And would sing at Mass no more
At first I felt again abandoned, deserted and betrayed
It seemed that everything I loved would run and leave me hear lonely and afraid
But there and then a seed was planted but I wish I'd felt back then
Just a small taste of the joy I'd find tryna sing like Tommy sang
Repeat Chorus

The Treasures of the Sons
Toys were always scarce, often homemade, and impossible to hang on to. In a place with no locks, everything belonged to everyone. “That’s my spinning top,” someone would say. “No, it’s bloody well not, I swapped O’Rourke me soldier for it.” You soon became pretty detached about your “tings.”

The afternoon sun dipped behind the ball alley
I’m kickin’ a ball that I stole from O’Malley
O’Malley he got it from Bulger the Bully
For a battered lead soldier he took from Mick Scully
The Scull got the soldier from Martin McKeown
For a champion chestnut as hard as a stone
And McKeown got the chestnut from Badger McGee
And that hooligan stole it from me

From pocket to pocket as fast as a rocket
Never mind where you got it from no one will ask
They’ll be yours for a minute then some one will rob it
Or you’ll swap it or drop it along the tall grass
They’re a bundle of fun but the never last long
The Treasures of the Sons

There were magnifying glasses to torture the ants
There were marbles that fell through a hole in your pants
There were motor car tires you could roll up inside
There were little glass stink bombs no nose could abide
Slingshots and arrows and forbidden things
There were trains without tracks there were planes without wings
You would hide them and horde them but try all you will
You couldn’t hold on to them still

Repeat Chorus
In a charity box on my first Christmas eve
I got half a tin hen from Hong Kong I believe
It was supposed to lay eggs when you pressed the legs down
But the eggs and the legs went to Peter McGowan
We fought for a minute or two over that till I swapped him my half for his old cowboy hat
Then he went laying eggs and I shot up the town
With a cap gun on loan from Mick Browne
Repeat Chorus

On the bus back home

It’s Christmas Day 1955. The lads have all gone down town on busses to see the pantomimes. I’m looking down the long avenue towards the Malahide Road, waiting for me ma to come and bring me home as she had promised. In short pants and light jacket coat, I’m cold but excited to be going home.

Oh I just can’t wait to show you what Santa brought last night
Well he must have been half drunk or his glasses weren’t on right
I got half an ould tin hen and a rather toothless comb
But you’ll see them all yourself on the bus back home

I’ve got pockets full of chestnuts I won from Val McKee
That poor divil did his best not to lose them all to me
But with sleight of hand and blarney I captured every one
And I’ll tell you how I did it on the bus back home

I can’t wait to show you all the tricks I’ve learned
How to cheat at cards and curse and look like you are really sick
It’s amazing just how fast you learn to run
When you’re chased by some big eejit of a lunatic
Who’s thicker than a brick
Who’s pocket you’ve just recently picked

Ah but I’ve made a good few friends here I know I’ll miss them all
I’ve made enemies as well and god I won’t miss them at all
Can we come back and visit friends after we have settled down
And I’ll tell you all their names on the bus back home

Well I hope you have the bus fare the walk is long and hard
But we’ll be ok going back ‘coz I won five bob playing cards
There’s enough for fish and chips and a nice big sticky bun
And we’ll have ourselves a feast on the bus back home

We’ll go down through Donnycarney just to see what’s going on
See the Christmas lights all shiny on the bus back home

The Artane Boys Band
Ma hasn’t come. After Brother Columba tells me she’s never coming back I decide to my everyone’s advice and try to join the school band. That decision changed my life forever. The Artane Boys Band was a gift that keeps on giving.

Clarinets and trumpets, saxophones and drums
Trombones and tubas loud as cannon guns
Discarded by my family I was giving up the fight
But music made me hers that day adopted me for life
On the Sunday morning concrete my life in strangers hands
My soul was captured by the Artane Boys Band

Now Brother Joe O’Connor took a rusty battered horn, said;
“Fire away on this, lad, you won’t do it no harm”
As I tested out before him even then I must have known
Cos I blasted like my whole damn life was in that old trombone
Then he smiled for half a second and took me by the hand;
“Well done, boy, and welcome to the Artane Boys Band.”

We played for Presidents and Cardinals, at festivals and balls
At football matches in the rain and musty old town halls
There was nothing in this wide world as glorious or grand
As the blast of freedom's yearning from the Artane Boys Band

Well, the Irish Christian brothers had a school in every town
We must’ve played a hundred times in each one up and down
And the good folks of the parish would open their doors
And fill us up with love and grub we’d never had before
Loved by everybody, welcomed cross the land
How could you be lonely in the Artane Boys Band?

Repeat Chorus
In sixty two they flew us out to Boston and New York
And my dad who lived in Brooklyn, well, he took the day off work
As he marched along beside us, a sad little man
Well I played so bloody loud I nearly blew the Guinness from his hand

Yeah, we made sure that the music was louder than the pain
And whatever got inside you, you just blew it out again
And when we stepped out in Croke Park to a hundred thousand roars
We blazed away like stallions running free on Curragh Moors
There was nothing in this wide world as Glorious or Grand
As the blast of freedom’s yearnin’ from the Artane Boys Band

Who Trew Da Boot?
McCarthy, the sleepy night-watchman in dormitory #5, get’s it all wrong when O’Reilly’s “harder than a rock” loaf of bread hits the floor. He thought someone threw a boot. When 150 kids share a joke that the adult is not privy to, suppressed laughter doesn’t remain suppressed for very long.

Half past ten all the days work was done
The dormitory lights were out all excepting one
A hundred lad and fifty were making not a peep
And McCarthy the night watchman was pretending not to sleep

In walks O’Reilly, the reason I’m awake
My good friend was a baker and he’s been working late
I saw he kept his promise with a loaf beneath his coat
And I’d been waiting half the night as hungry as a goat

O’Reilly screamed a whisper as he gave the bread a knock
I left it in too long, Dan, it’s harder than a rock
He threw it in the half light said, “catch it if you can”
Well I missed it and it landed with a God almighty bang

Up jumps McCarthy, droopy as a drake
Famous as an idiot when fully wide awake
Twenty years a watchman, sixty years a fool
As tough as he was stupid and as stubborn as a mule
And then he said the funniest thing I ever heard

“Who Trew Da Boot?” I laughed till I was hoarse
O’Reilly grabs the loaf of bread stifling the roars
“Who Trew Da Boot?” The place was in a roar
The night O’Reilly’s loaf of bread nearly broke the floor

A hundred lads and fifty were warming to the joke,
McCarthy’s running round the room working on a stroke
“Yer just a bunch of numbers!” McCarthy spoke the truth
For each lad had a number stamped upon his boot

Then the logic of the innocent, impossible to fault
Hit the bold McCarthy like a shot of single malt
“First I’ll find the boot” said he, ‘That’ll end the farce,”
“Then I’ll have his number, then I’ll kick his bloody arse”
“Alright, I’m givin’ you one more chance boys”

Repeat Chorus

In that awful institution order was a vice
And boots were kept in boot rooms there was not a boot in sight
But confident of victory, righteous in his cause
McCarthy searched till morning for the boot that never was

Now, down through the years as I tell this tale anew
I must admit it grows a bit but most of it is true
And whenever awful memories raise their ugly heads
I still can see McCarthy crawlin’ underneath the beds
I hear him say, “Ah, someone’s gonna pay this”

Repeat Chorus

The Twist within the Tweed
All casual observers who visited Artane were impressed by the “tall, strong lads.” Nobody wanted to look deeper. The hidden pain and struggle within each boy remained unseen. In my own case, it took ten years before the “twist” finally unraveled.

My name is Patrick Joseph Quirk I’m an Artane weaver
Break of day I march to work and work till day is over
I shuttle tweed in looms that groan like torture racks
The clicks and clacks that haunt my dreaming

My mammy was a chambermaid in the Gresham Hotel
My daddy worked the kitchen trade in that same place as well
I was their accident, no wedding blessed my birth
No home on earth no proud relations

And when you look at me the tall strong lad is only half the truth
You see the cloth but not the weave, the warp and weft of history
Come close and see the Twist within the Tweed

Today I’ll leave this roll of cloth to the tailors fingers
There’s half a chance some silly sod will burn the thing to cinders
Oh, I take pride in this though why I’ll never know
I’ve naught to show for all my labors

And when you look at me the tall strong lad is only half the truth
You see the cloth but not the weave, the warp and weft of history
Come close and see the twist within the tweed

But still I think I’m better off than some of my brothers
I’m blessed with not one memory of the touch of a loving mother
But some of these poor lads are old enough to miss
The treacherous kiss that sent them packing
And when you look at us tall strong lads; “Well aren’t they marvelous!”
But with each blessed breath we breathe we fight like hell so no one sees
What lies beneath: the anger and the need, the wound too deep to bleed
The Twist within the Tweed

The Brothers tried in vain to instill in us a respect for truth, honor and integrity. Unfortunately those virtues can only be imparted by those who possess them. “Tell the truth and you won’t be punished.” Oh, yeah? Pull the other leg! The God given instinct to protect oneself resulted in some memorable excuses.

Excuses you gotta be jokin’
You think I was born with the stable door open
Excuses so come up with one better or button it up
Coz I’m bloody fed up with
Excuses there’s always a fiddle a wink and a nod and a hi diddle diddle
Excuses even God’d go mad if he listened to that
And the back of me hand to excuses

I was on my way to class when a tiger chased me through the grass
So I climbed up that chestnut tree and
While I was at it I filled my pockets now what’s the harm in that sir

repeat first chorus

I was praying in the church when Mary jumped down from her perch
She said “join me in the rosary”
Now who am I to disagree sir with the Virgin Mary

Excuses there’s always a million
There isn’t a day I don’t here a gazillion
Excuses get away outa that with you I’ve had enough
Enough of your bloody excuses
There’s always another
Is that what you gave to your father and mother
Excuses as you empty your bladder at night in the bed
And you lie in the wet of excuses

I swept up the dormitory when a hundred Injuns ambushed me
Thank god Roy Rogers came riding by and
There but for the grace of Jesus I’d of been killed to pieces

Repeat first chorus
And so would Saint Pat he would throw in his hat
All the saints and apostles would turn to the bottle
If they had to put up with your awful excuses

Music for a friend
Music had become my life, and when Brother O’Connor threw me out of the band for fighting, my life was over. Here, Brother O’Driscoll embodies the startling paradox found in many of the brothers - and everyone else too: on one hand, bad tempered, petty and murderously cruel, and on the other, kind, caring and deeply human..

I was always a little downhearted
Tonight I am worse and I feel justified
I’ve just been thrown out of the band for a fight with young Andy McBride
O’Driscoll said “Why are ya crying?”

In charge of the kitchen, he’s a bad tempered man
I told him a life without music for me, is a life without a friend
An’ I’ve lost one good chance and you don’t get another
I’ll never play those

Heart breakin’ melodies again
He said; “Work hard son, you’ll be grand
That kind of stuff is all pretend
Strong men don’t need Music For a Friend

I’m working’ late in the kitchen
The whole world’s asleep as I cross the ball park
I make the sign of the cross as I pass by the church in the dark

I stop and gaze at the starlight
My breath rises up like a bird from a cage
Suddenly all of the stars in the sky come alive in a blaze
An’ I’m lost in a trance
And it’s then that I hear them singing to me

Heartbreaking melodies above
Down from the stars out of this world
Till now that secret has remained
But I knew back then I had Music for a Friend

I’m peeling spuds in the kitchen
I’m singing away at some song that I’ve heard
O’Driscoll he creeps up behind me, listening, not saying a word
When I turn around he is frowning
But surprisingly kind for a bad tempered man
He said; “Let me speak to O’Connor, the brother in charge of the band
“He might let ya back in
“cos that’s where ya belong son, go back and play your

“Heartbreaking Melodies all day
Your daft as eggs but that’s OK
That kind of madness does no harm”
And I had to agree there, cos now I know that

God gives these melodies to us
It’s almost like he dresses up
Puts on a suit we’ll understand so we can have
Music for a Friend

Kelly’s Gone Missin’
“Did anyone see where Kelly went?” Brother Cummings asked naively. A dozen liars, all pointing in different directions shouted: “Yes, sir. He went that-a-way.” “Well by God, lads, let’s go get him!” The resulting mayhem of three hundred kids running in all directions, is one of my dearest memories.

Kelly’s gone missin’ they say he went runnin’
Away ’cross the fields like a shot from a gun
He was walking along in the afternoon sun
When it entered his mind he’d be better off somewhere else

He was seen by O’Mara who told Brother Cummings
Who gathered a posse and off they went runnin’
And shoutin’ and screamin’ the summer sun gleamin’
Above the hedge rows and the green fields of Erin

Kelly’s gone missin’ they say he was playin’
Relieve - ee - I - o with some lads over yonder
And when he went runnin sure nobody noticed at all
Till the game it was totally over
He was laughing and joking at Mass just this morning
Till Brother McKeown slyly crept up behind him
And whispered a catholic curse in his ear
Ah well, honest to goodness no wonder he’s outa here

Ah Kelly’s gone missin’ and soon he was seen
To the north and the south and all points in between
And the posse has swollen to 300 rollin’
Along the hedgerows and the green fields of Erin

And poor Brother Cummings is pulling his hair out
He’s started a riot and hopeless to stop it
An the whole school’s runnin’ in every direction
’Cos Kelly’s gone missin’…. he’s dead if they catch him

Kelly’s gone missin’ now what was he thinking
His mother and father will just send him back again
Four other brothers and five other sisters
Not one of them working ……They just can’t afford him

Summer Sandals
The relief of wearing the red sandals issued in summer, is impossible to describe. For me, hob-nail boots became the symbol of all that was hard and punitive in Artane, while the sandals, made of much lighter, softer leather, held the promise of summer; play and laughter.

As black as midnight was the fear
Always there behind the hunger
I learnt the hard way God is here
Spitting flames and firing anger
When someone said don’t waste your breath
I thought it meant my breaths were numbered
And when they’re gone you’ll soon be dead
Like a flower outa water
And so I’d lie awake at night
And hold my breath to save my life

A cobbler’s curse on hobnail boots;
Leather buckets round your ankles
You’ll hear them coming that’s the truth;
Metal heels all jingle jangle
But pails of water we had tossed
Like a river down the playground
Has frozen up in last night’s frost
And now the boots are great to skate on
We’ll slide the damn things into the ground
And hold our breath as we fall down

But summer sandals soft and easy will set my feet to fly
At last I’ll feel the grass beneath me and it springs back as I pass by
In summer sandals light as paper I’ll hardly touch the ground
Ah now, that’s what feet are made for; runnin’ free and flyin’ round

Thank god the summer’s nearly here
Most are off to friends and families
The rest of us will stay right here
Making friends of bitter enemies
We’ll ride the rails to ’Marnock Strand
And sing “Last train to San Fernando”
We’ll fight on dunes of silver sands;
Errol Flynn and Marlon Brandos
They’ll line us up like knights of old
And when that silver whistle blows
We’ll rush to sea like it was gold
And hold our breath against the cold

I was 15, when in 1962, the Artane Boys Band were brought to Boston and New York. There I met my dad for the first time in ten years. He gave me two gifts which would influence the course of events forever. He showered me with dollar bills which I saved to buy my own trombone when I left the orphanage. and a transistor radio. The rebellious music of the Beatles and Elvis seemed to fill me with strength; preparation for my upcoming life, beyond the gray walls of Artane.

I got a radio
Fits in my pocket you know
Hold it right up to my ear
Nobody else can hear
It’s got a two foot aerial
It’s got Elvis and Rock ‘n Roll
Now I don’t care anymore
‘Cos I know a secret door
I got a radio

The football acre was covered with snow
They’ve split the school in half and lined us sp ten deep
Behind these goalposts
Ah there’s gonna be a battle
Yeah they’re gonna make us fight
And I don’t know if I shakin’ from the cold or from the fright

Ah but I got a radio
Fits in my pocket you know
Hold it right up to my ear
Nobody else can hear
It’s got a three foot aerial
It’s got Elvis and Rock ‘n Roll
Now I don’t care anymore
‘Cos I know a secret door
I got a radio

Me and Joe McDonald, we’re up in a tree
We’re puffing away on a Woodbine cigarette
And he passes it to me
But I slip and I lose my balance just as Brother McCrutten passes by
Then he grins his evil grin and slaps his leg and says
“You two meet me in the boot room after lights out tonight”

Ah but I got a radio
Fits in my pocket you know
Hold it right up to my ear
See ya later I’m outa here
It’s got a six foot aerial
It’s got Elvis and Rock ‘n Roll
Now I don’t care anymore
‘Cos I know a secret door
I got a radio

The Day I left Artane
I’m 16 and outa here! In the school admin office, my release papers hold a startling revelation; my twin brothers had been in the band beside me for two years and I never knew it. I ran to find them on the playground. Like me, they didn’t know how to deal with the news. With my dad’s money for my trombone in my pocket I boarded the bus for Dublin city – and freedom..

On the eighteenth day of a warm July in nineteen sixty three
I climbed into the new flannel trousers the tailors made for me
Then I handed over the tattered old shirts and the tweeds that bore my name
I was glad to see the last of them the day I left Artane

Every thing that I then possessed I stuffed in one small case
All but the clothes on my skinny frame and the frown upon my face
But I felt no lack nothing holding me back, no fear for future’s flame
I was much too strong for that carry on the day I left Artane

“What’s your mother’s maiden name,” the clerk was so discreet
“It was Constance Mary McIvor,” said I, “Born and reared on Gardiner Street”

He went rifling through his big ledger book till he frowned and said, “That’s strange”
“Are you ready boy for a final surprise.” said he, the day I left Artane

He let me look through that secret book like it was god’s own diary
Well I’d known the brothers McIvor for years, but it never dawned on me
But there in the book in a spidery scrawl underneath my mother’s name
I found my lost half brothers on the day I left Artane

I remember the storm when those twins were born; ‘cos my dad had been gone for a year
He’s set sail for America’s shore, saving up to bring us there
But the birth of the boys tore the family apart in a scattering wind of shame
Ah, but I was free from that irony the day I left Artane

I ran through droves of screaming kids, my breath heaved like the wind
Then I found my brothers and blurted out the tale and we all shook hands and grinned
And we stood there shrugging, winking and nodding no one wondering who’s to blame
Then we said goodbye ‘neath a wider sky the day I left Artane

Some lads upstairs on the bus into town were singing Beatle songs
And I sat down beside them all red in the face, too shy to sing along
Then a storm burst over the Malahide Road dropping absolution’s rain
And I joined with the boys in that holy noise the day I left Artane

Innocence back
Here, I permit myself some expression of the anger I held as a child towards society for allowing the abuses of the Christian Brothers. Since writing this song, I’ve come to know that most people, while they knew the Brothers were a tough lot, had no idea of the horrors some inflicted. Here also, are my hopes for the healing that’s graced me, to touch others.

How often I’d wondered what people would do
But now I know better now I know they all knew
And the whole damn country looked the other way
As the bold Christian Brothers battered our childhoods away

Yeah they shattered our bodies and they scattered our minds
And they broke us and bent us till we were twisted as twine
Then set us all loose like rats from a sack
Now there’s no amount of money gonna buy us our innocence back

And we ran from the sunshine and we ran from the rain
And we ran into trouble tryna run from the pain
“Hey I need to feel something so come on do your worst”
But I never felt nothing but the feeling that life is a curse

Took me ten years to notice that a sign on my back
Saying “come on big world why don’t ya give me a smack”
But the harder they hit it, the harder it packed
And there’s no sledgehammer gonna buy me my innocence back

It took the kindness of others to stop me in my tracks
Made me cry like a baby for the love that I lacked
It was tougher that the beatings much harder to face
That stark recognition that a part of my soul’s been erased

Now I wish the lads justice and I wish the lads luck
But whatever they give ya it won’t be what they took
May you always find shelter from the dreams of the black
And may the grace that creates you grant you your innocence back

The Stolen Child (words by WB Yeats Music by Danny Ellis)

Where dips the rocky highland
Of sleuth wood in the lake
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats
There we've hid our fairy vats
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away oh human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world's more full of weeping
Than he can understand

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light
By far off furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles
Whilst the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep.


Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glencar
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams


Away with us he's going
The solemn eyed
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace unto his breast
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.

For he comes, the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand
For the world's more full of weeping
Than you can understand.