Folkpunkklassieker du jour: The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn

Een lied over een Ierse nationalist en antifascist  die op zijn sterfbed terugkijkt op zijn roerige leven. Na de oorlog raakt de verteller aan de drank, om uiteindelijk een klassieke Ierse dood te sterven – dronken en nog even opstandig als tijdens zijn jonge jaren. Volgens Shane MacGowan is de hoofdpersoon een combinate van verschillende karakters die hij ontmoette toen hij een tijdlang de Ierse pub van zijn oom in Essex frequenteerde. 

Een geannoteerde versie van de tekst vind je hier.

McCormack and Richard Tauber are singing by the bed
There’s a glass of punch below your feet and an angel at your head
There’s devils on each side of you with bottles in their hands
You need one more drop of poison and you’ll dream of foreign lands

When you pissed yourself in Frankfurt and got syph down in Cologne
And you heard the rattling death trains as you lay there all alone
Frank Ryan bought you whiskey in a brothel in Madrid
And you decked some fucking blackshirt who was cursing all the Yids
At the sick bed of Cuchulainn we’ll kneel and say a prayer
But the ghosts are rattling at the door and the devil’s in the chair

And in the Euston Tavern you screamed it was your shout
But they wouldn’t give you service so you kicked the windows out
They took you out into the street and kicked you in the brains
So you walked back in through a bolted door and did it all again
At the sick bed of Cuchulainn we’ll kneel and say a prayer
And the ghosts are rattling at the door and the devil’s in the chair

You remember that foul evening when you heard the banshees howl
There was lousy drunken bastards singing “Billy In The Bowl”
They took you up to midnight mass and left you in the lurch
So you dropped a button in the plate and spewed up in the church

Now you’ll sing a song of liberty for blacks and paks and jocks
And they’ll take you from this dump you’re in and stick you in a box
Then they’ll take you to Cloughprior and shove you in the ground
But you’ll stick your head back out and shout “We’ll have another round”
At the graveside of Cuchulainn we’ll kneel around and pray
And God is in His heaven, and Billy’s down by the bay

Uitgelichte afbeelding: Cú Chulainn in battle -By Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874 – 1951) – 1. T. W. Rolleston, Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race2. Unknown3., Public Domain,