On the subject of Beirut and its people…

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae2dEWoKsxA[/tube]

A song called Alice in Jericho, where Lebanon/Beirut is the actual subject. The singer is Ireland’s Seamie O’Dowd. The venue is some jazz club in Australia, not sure where.

Alice In Jericho

Now, the natural part of a Nazarene man
is the life he’ll give for his own blood-band;
but there’s nothing left over for the Philistines, too,
not the land they lost, nor the life they knew.
And the Prophet’s peace of a thousand years
meant nothing but blood, means nothing but tears.

Yes, she’s probably gone now, don’t you know:
Alice tried to live in Jericho.
Didn’t care about Hebrews’ promised lands,
she said, “I get by as best I can.”

When you get a bad mix in a tiny land,
every few damned years, it seems, it gets out of hand;
between bandit princes and their holy wars,
spilling blood in His name is a righteous chore.
Alice is innocent in a Levantine town,
and that’s the first kind the heroes cut down.

Yes, she’s probably gone now, don’t you know:
Alice tried to live in Jericho.
Didn’t care about Hebrews’ promised lands,
she said, “I get by as best I can.”

Now, I don’t know if she’s really gone,
but I’m thinking of the range of an average bomb,
or maybe the knife, in a righteous hand,
shortened her life in the Holy Land.
Or what I hope for her, as best of all:
that she only got shaken in the great downfall.

Yes, she’s probably gone now, don’t you know:
Alice tried to live in Jericho.
Didn’t care about Hebrews’ promised lands,
she said, “I get by as best I can.”

 ©1977 Thom Moore, reg. IMRO, MCPS

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Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2010/11/04/on-the-subject-of-beirut-and-its-people/

2 comments

  1. Thom Moore’s description of this song on his Broadjam website indicates that Alice is (was?) a real person, while ‘Jericho’ is just a trope on the notion of Beirut as yet another mideast city at the mercy of marauding Israelites…

  2. Seamie O’Dowd was playing at the Ellington Jazz Club in Perth, Western Australia

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