The Prisoner

Words & Music: Jake Thackray

Click here to download guitar tab

Young foreign soldier, evening approaches.
The prisoner will come from his dark cell and kill you.
Prisoners go dangerous if chained in their homeland;
His knife will sink into you, poor bastard soldier.

Do you ever remember home? Do the tears ever flow?
Do you sing sentimental songs of your countryside?
Is the grass forever green - flowers grow there freely?
Can you hear singing birds? Young soldier, the prisoner once heard them.

Young foreign soldier - the path by the barley field,
The gate to the garden, the girl in the pinafore.
The big bed at daybreak, where children crept in to you;
The path by the barley field, poor bastard soldier.

Remember what you did at night time, the happy kisses in the darkness;
Are there some good words for love in your language?
Did you promise to be true to her? Swear everlastingly
To never ever love another one, young soldier, the prisoner has sworn so.

Young foreign soldier, have you seen dead children -
The fragile legs open, the bright bird escaping;
Mouths pale with questions, the wide eyes still fearful?
Yes you have seen children, poor bastard soldier.

If the gasping mouths were yours, if you recognised the shaking lips
As those you had shaped with your lifetime's caresses,
Would you not gouge eyes, curse every Jesus Christ?
Would you not scream? Young soldier, the prisoner has done so.

The path by the barley field, the gate to the garden,
The girl in the pinafore, the big bed at daybreak.
Evening approaches, the knife will sink into you.
Poor bastard soldier. Poor bastard prisoner.


In the actual TV performance of this song, at the end of the fourth stanza Jake either starts to sing the wrong words and stops short, or breaks down under emotion. Consensus within the community was that the most likely reading was that shown above. What Jake actually sang, live on TV, was: "To never ever love another one, young soldier, the prisoner will never, ev . . ."

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