“Corporal Richardson” started out as a personal poem around Remembrance Day. I was reflecting on the unimaginable destruction to the human psyche during the Second World War (My father had survived the ravages of WW2 in Holland, and my mother and her family were concentration camp prisoners during the Japanese invasion of Indonesia. They were children at the time and their emotional scars lasted their lifetimes).
In particular, a story I had read caught my imagination while Canada was in military operations in Afghanistan. A soldier had shot himself while there. I didn’t catch the name, but the event compelled me to write something about what happens when hell breaks loose around you, and despite your training to steel yourself, you realize that it is all too much for your bag of bones and dreams.
I made Corporal Richardson female. Shit happens to all of us.
The last few bars of the song is a short quote from “Flowers of the Forest” a Scottish lament played at Remembrance Day services after the two minute silence.
I dedicate this song to all those with PTSD, those who survive it, those who didn’t, and their families.
Corporal Richardson came home today Fought in a war that was far far away Two weeks to go from a eight month stay Corporal Richardson came home today Corporal Richardson saw her friends die blood on the road and blood on her eyes truck in the air where birds ought to fly Corporal Richardson saw her friends die Terror's a word we don't know at all Security's politics have put up the walls We don't pay much except taxes and fear and hope it will all go away by next year Corporal Richardson cried in the gloom where an acid burned girl moaned alone in the room No time to think it all happened too soon Corporal Richardson wept in those ruins. Then she got the letter “No lover, no more. Things aren't getting better and I'm out the door” You leave a sweetheart to kill or be killed but it's not for the country or forms that you fill Corporal Richardson can't take no more Her hope and her memory are far distant shores They cleaned her despair and her stains from the floor Corporal Richardson .... (Instrumental) Corporal Richardson came home today Fought in a war that was far far away Two weeks to go from a eight month stay Corporal Richardson came home today ©2016 words and music by Edward Moll (SOCAN)