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(No More) The Submariner

Peter Hammill

In my youth, I played at trains: Now all steam is gone
In my dreams, brief shelter from the rain
I try to catch the fireglow
With Dinky Toys, I thought that I was stirling
With cricket bat, I saw myself as Peter May

Now, with all these images returning
I wonder who I am today?
As a child, I refought the war
With plastic planes and imagination

I sank tirpitz, blew up the mohne dam, these and more
I was the saviour of the nation
Oh! To be the captain of a ship of war
The pilot of a tempest or a york
To hold my trench against the Panzer Korps

Instead of simply being one who talks
And reminisces of his fantasies
As though life was nothing but to lose
These only antecede the knowledge that, eventually
He must choose

It's a hallmark of adulthood
That our options diminish
As our faculties for choice increase
Till we choose everything and nothing
Too late, at the finish

In my youth, I held belief: My faith and thought were strong
But now I'm stripped of every leaf, and it robs me
Of the sight of right and wrong
Oh! To be the son of Che Guevara
One unit in the serried ranks of black
A papist or an orangeman, a eunuch

Then doubt would never cast the dagger in my back
Oh! To be King John or Douglas Bader
Humphrey bogart or Victor Mature
Which one is false and easy
Which one harder?

Of that, of this, of me
I'm really not too sure

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