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Mel Green: Songs & Lyrics

Shadows In The Hall

(Mel Green)
July, 2010
Mel Green, ©2010 MelGreen Publishing. BMI

A story that repeats itself in one form or another, time after time.

About lives of quiet desperation.

The one’s unnoticed in the shadows.

Toiling in obscurity. 

The forgotten casualties of war, after war, after war. 

This song is dedicated to all conscripts,

and especially to those of my own generation that survive,

and those who fought and will fight in the conflicts of the present and of the future...

and who are unappreciated for their unstinting service.

Under the stairs beside the entrance hall    
An old man sits and stares at relics of his first war    
Hanging on the wall. 
Near pictures of his kids who’ve grown up and now are gone
By a certificate from the masons, next to a picture from his old school
When he was twenty-one, he looked just like his son...

His hair long gray is thinning and he’s balder by the day

An old calendar on the wall 

A little girl with kittens grinning in the hay

And his watch for faithful service is hanging on a chain

And his joints are fine as long as it doesn’t rain

He feels no pain...


The weather’s become cooler now that summer’s gone

A wool hat for his ears, a scarf and rug to keep his old legs warm

He reads the Sunday papers with eyes that are weak and wan

Waiting for the widow to ’phone him
And to tell him that her heat is not on

He will not come...


He hides away his memories

In a wild and scary place  

You’d never know by looking at his weathered kindly face    

He fought in the Pacific, shipped home in ’44

He never marches in parades

On July the Fourth


Sweeping corridors 

Mopping up the floors

Dusting off the stairs 

What he’s done and seen

No one knows, no one cares.


He still remembers days when tramlines ran around this block

A long time ago, he came back from the war, he says it was shell-shock

And he still plays cards for matches, with the old sergeant from upstairs

Humming Yankee Doodle snatches

And sometimes you can even hear him say his prayers...

To the lady on the wall...

There are shadows in the hall...