Henry's Songbook

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Cold Missouri Waters

  • (Words & music James Keelaghan)

    My name is Dodge, but then you know that
    It's written on the chart there at the foot end of the bed
    They think I'm blind, I can't read it
    I've read it every word, and every word it says is death
    So, Confession - is that the reason that you came
    Get it off my chest before I check out of the game
    Since you mention it, well there's thirteen things I'll name
    Thirteen crosses high above the cold Missouri waters

    August 'Forty-Nine, north Montana
    The hottest day on record, the forest tinder dry
    Lightning strikes in the mountains
    I was crew chief at the jump base, I prepared the boys to fly
    Pick the drop zone, C-47 comes in low
    Feel the tap upon your leg that tells you go
    See the circle of the fire down below
    Fifteen of us dropped above the cold Missouri waters

    Gauged the fire, I'd seen bigger
    So I ordered them to sidehill and we'd fight it from below
    We'd have our backs to the river
    We'd have it licked by morning even if we took it slow
    But the fire crowned, jumped the valley just ahead
    There was no way down, headed for the ridge instead
    Too big to fight it, we'd have to fight that slope instead
    Flames one step behind above the cold Missouri waters

    Sky had turned red, smoke was boiling
    Two hundred yards to safety, death was fifty yards behind
    I don't know why I just thought it
    I struck a match to waist high grass running out of time
    Tried to tell them, Step into this fire I set
    We can't make it, this is the only chance you'll get
    But they cursed me, ran for the rocks above instead
    I lay face down and prayed above the cold Missouri waters

    And when I rose, like the phoenix
    In that world reduced to ashes there were none but two survived
    I stayed that night and one day after
    Carried bodies to the river, wonder how I stayed alive
    Thirteen stations of the cross to mark to their fall
    I've had my say, I'll confess to nothing more
    I'll join them now, because they left me long before
    Thirteen crosses high above the cold Missouri waters
    Thirteen crosses high above the cold Missouri shore


Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1995:] This song is inspired by Norman MacLean's book 'Young Men and Fire' about the Mann Gulch fire, August 1949. When reading I kept coming back to the image of Dodge, who survived the inferno, dying of Hodgkin's disease. Fate, which had saved him at 33, took him at 38. (Notes James Keelaghan, 'A Recent Future')

Quelle: Canada


 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 15.10.1999