Valley of Kandahar

Emmett Doyle
Language: English


This song, which is roughly to the tune of "You Rambling Boys of Pleasure", is a lament is the style of earlier anti-war laments in the Irish tradition, such as "Bonny Light Horseman". The song tells the story of a woman who marries a young soldier. The soldier is called to war in Afghanistan, where he serves in the Kandahar valley, one of the most war-torn and violent parts of the country. There, he is killed. The wife receives the news of his death, and expresses her anguish.
Oh come and gather round me
And list a while unto my song
I fell in love with a soldier
And swore to him my whole life long
but the years did not flow easy
and congress gave the call to war
so came the day he flew away
Off to the valley of Kandahar

It’s often was I would awake
To think of him so far away
and the dangers that surrounded him
weighed upon my mind each day
He sent me letters and his love
From that country across the sea
until the thundering Pashtun gun
stole my true love away from me

It was on a quiet morning
The messenger came to my door
All dressed in finest uniform
Which made my heart beat fast and sore
He handed me a banner
Of red and blue and fine white stars
My greatest fear I wept to hear
My love lie slain in Kandahar

Optional/alternate fourth verse:
Let all the skies be blackened
And on that spot may curses lie
And also on the generals
Who went my true love off to die
They’ve killed a hundred thousand
And still they’ll send a thousand more
to die in the sand of a foreign land
all for the valley of Kandahar

May heaven be in mourning
And may its weeping fall as rain
And burst the banks of the Arghandab
And by that flood wash clean our pain
You generals, keep your medals
Your ribbons and your silver star
Just lay him down in his native ground
far from the valley of Kandahar

Contributed by Emmett Doyle - 2014/1/25 - 05:20

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