Song Lyric Sunday – Brutality and Cruelty, History isn’t always resigned to the past.

The Song Lyric Sunday Challenge this week is to post a song with the theme of Brutal, Cruel, Frenzy, Savage, Violent.

Click on the link below to see Jim Adam’s post and to take part in the challenge.

For those of you who know my taste in music or who have read some of my posts will glean that I like music that could be considered old-fashioned. In choosing something that meets the challenge, I decided to choose music that tackle the theme of brutal injustice.

Firstly this song, that uses a vocal technique to evoke the struggling of people working in a forced labour gang. Sam Cooke’s song – Chain Gang.

This song was released in July 1960 and was written by Sam Cooke and Charles Cook Jr.

Hoh ah, hoh, I hear something saying
Hoh ah, hoh ah
Hoh ah, hoh ah

Well don’t you know
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang

All day long they’re saying, hoh ah
Hoh ah, hoh ah, hoh ah

Well don’t you know
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang

[Verse 1]
All day long they work so hard till the sun is going down
Working on the highways and byways and wearing, wearing a frown
You hear they moaning their lives away

Then you hear somebody say;
Well don’t you know
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang

[Verse 2]
Can’t you hear them singing, mmm hoh ah
I’m going home one of these days
I’m going home, see my woman
Whom I love so dear
But meanwhile, I gotta work right here

Well don’t you know
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang
That’s the sound of the men
Working on the chain, gang

All day long they’re singing, mm hoh ah
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my work is so hard
Give me water, I’m thirsty, my, my work is so hard
Woah oh
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my work is so hard

Secondly I thought of another powerful song about brutal injustice – Strange Fruit performed by Billie Holliday

This song was written by Abel Meeropol and recorded by Billie Holliday in 1939.

While these songs are from the past, its a shame that what they were written about has not been consigned to history.

I have also included the following word prompts:

Three Things Challenge, 14 June 2018

This is a Three Things Challenge as set by the haunted wordsmith, see link below:

Here are the three words for 14 June 2018: history, witch, Pacific Ocean

This story also includes the Word Prompt: Nefarious


I was born in Salem. Not the Salem in Massachusetts, renowned in history for it ancient witch trial. The one in Oregon, near the Pacific Ocean. 

It was founded by settlers keen to leave behind those old stories of Witches and witchcraft and other nefarious things.

What they didn’t know was that it was coming with them. 

Travelling with the settlers was my great-grandmother, Hecuba Carey. She had been young at the time. A woman with long red hair that she refused to keep tied up and under a bonnet. She had also been schooled well in the ways of witchery by her own mother and send forth with the settlers to spread our own ways. Hecuba had been one of the most powerful witches and those poor settlers had never known. 

I never knew her, of course, she died long before I was born. My granny told me about her though. How she used to be able to capture any mans heart she wished and led them a merry chase until she tired of them. How she could punish those who she envied or who looked down their noses at her. Made them suffer, with dysentery or scarlet fever. All her tricks she passed on to me. I was told I look a lot like her, you know? I wish photographs existed back then, because I would love to see what she looked like. 

Now I have my own little daughter to teach tricks too. Her father didn’t stick around too long, but I was glad of that. He was a useless lump anyway, he was only good for one thing and the final result of that is now lying in my lap looking up at me with those bright green eyes. She’ll be my revenge on the world. My precious little Medea. What larks we’ll play on this innocent world. Yes, we will. 


The End

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 14/June/2018

Picture of the day – Hadleigh Castle

This picture is of a ruined castle.

This castle is very important to me, not because it was my ancestral home, or anything like that! It just happened that I grew up a short bicycle ride away from it.

Consequently I would spend many hours here.

I had picnics here.

I flew kites here.

I played frisbee here and I remember quite distinctly bringing a boomerang, purchased on a holiday to Australia with my parents, here to play with. It really did turn in the air and then unfortunately smashed into the still solid walls of the castle and snapped in half. Oh well.

The castle itself was built to prevent an invading navy from sailing up the Thames to London. It was apparently never needed.

For those of you who like history and remember that old bluebeard Henry VIII. He actually gave this castle to Anne of Cleves in his divorce settlement. She never lived here though. It was already a ruin even by that time. It meant that she was entitled to the taxes levied on the villages of Hadleigh and Rayleigh.

The castle dates roughly to the 13th century. It was mainly built during the reign of Kind Edward I. (The one known as longshanks and the hammer of the Scots).

In my head of a child, it was surely Camelot and I was one of the Knights of the round table. Or sometimes Merlin the master wizard. You can see, my imagination was rampant even then.

I hope you like this picture.




Picture of the Day – The Rotunda at Ixworth

This is a picture of Ixworth House in Suffolk, England.

It is a very interesting house, not only because it had this fantastic rotunda and had two large wings either side of it. One is still lived in today by the same family that has lived on the estate for many years. Most of it is now owned by the National Trust and as such is open to visitors.

One of the things that marked it out was the servants quarters. I have been to many stately homes, I like to wallow in the ‘upstairs downstairs’ or ‘Downton Abbey’ experience. They all had an army of servants to run these big houses in their heyday.

What marks this one is that the servants were so well-respected that after the first world war when the few men that did return refused to go back into service, Ixworth retained its staff right up until the 1930’s.

I remember the servants hall with its upright Piano, so evocative of evenings singing along to the latest music hall tunes (still on the piano waiting to be played.)

This was a really lovely place to visit.



Picture of the Day – Warwick Castle

My choice for picture of the day is this photograph of Warwick Castle, taken a few years ago on a very memorable trip to visit this landmark.

I think Warwick Castle is now owned by the same company that owns Madame Tussauds in London. They charge admission to the castle and grounds, but it is worth it.

I remember they had a scary dungeon tour with actors that screamed at you as you walk round. Stimulating.

The day we went they were hosting a tournament and had a number of fun things going on.

They had some jousting knights, a falconry display and they fired the great trebuchet (a siege engine, like a massive catapult).

They had things for kids of all ages, grown up ones included.

I remember they had a game set up in the inner courtyard with large rings on poles (if you are familiar with the Harry Potter films, they were just like the quidditch goal rings) and kids could pay to try and throw toy rats through the rings to win a prize.

I recall one small lad who was very disappointed to learn that the rats weren’t real!

Anyway, I hope you like the photo.