Saturday, March 1, 2008

Fiddler's Green

Today I want to share a little bit of history and tradition. It is so interesting to me all the little things that go on with the Soldiers. I hope you enjoy today's history lesson. lol

Fiddler's Green is the happy land imagined by cavalry troopers and sailors, where there is perpetual mirth, a fiddle that never stops playing and dancers who never tire.

Fiddler's Green features in an old Irish legend, to the effect that a sailor can find the paradisaical village by walking inland with an oar over his shoulder until he finds a place where people ask him what he's carrying. This legend may have some of its origin in Tiresias' prophecy in Homer's Odyssey, in which he tells Odysseus that the only way to appease the sea god Poseidon and find happiness is to take an oar and walk until he finds a land where he is asked what he is carrying, and there make his sacrifice.

Written anonymously for the U.S. cavalry, published in a 1923 U.S. Cavalry Manual. It is still used in modern cavalry units to memorialize the deceased.

Fiddler's Green
Halfway down the trail to hell
In a shady meadow green,
Are the souls of all dead troopers camped
Near a good old-time canteen
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddler’s Green.
Marching past, straight through to hell,
The infantry are seen,
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marine,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.
Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene,
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen,
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.
And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge or fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And put your pistol to your head
And go to Fiddlers' Green.

2 comments:

Rebecca said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I come from a military family, and my husband is in Iraq now with 3rd Brigade. My grandfather who was a green beret passed away a few years ago and my dad (also a combat vet) recited this poem at his funeral. The men in my family are very passionate about the military and seeing this poem reminded me of everything that our men and women are doing and sacrificing for our country. Thank you. :)

Dottie San Martin said...

Rebecca,

Thanks for the comment. This poem really does make us stop and realize how many sacrifices are made by our Soldiers so that all of us can enjoy our freedom!