Green Fields of France
1. noun: a seller of ballads, esp on broadsheets.
2. Noun: a writer of mediocre poetry.
History & Synopsis
"No Man's Land" (also known as "The Green Fields of France" or "Willie McBride") is a song written in 1976 by Scottish-Australian singer-songwriter Eric Bogle, reflecting on the grave of a young man who died in World War I. Its chorus refers to two famous pieces of military music, "The Last Post" and "The Flowers of the Forest". Its melody, its refrain ("did they beat the drum slowly, did they play the fife lowly"), and elements of its subject matter (a young man cut down in his prime) are similar to those of "Streets of Laredo", a North American cowboy ballad whose origins can be traced back to an 18th century British ballad called "The Unfortunate Rake" and the Irish Ballad Lock Hospital. In 2009 Eric told an audience in Weymouth that he'd read about a girl who had been presented with a copy of the song by then prime minister Tony Blair, who called it "his favourite anti-war poem". According to Eric, the framed copy of the poem was credited to him, but stated that he had been killed in World War I.
It's a song that was written about the military cemeteries in Flanders and Northern France. In 1976, my wife and I went to three or four of these military cemeteries and saw all the young soldiers buried there.