Monday, November 19, 2007

Lyrics of the Day

Bruce Cockburn week continues...

Stealing Fire is one of the best albums I ever found in the cut-out bins. The first Cockburn song I ever heard on the radio (I've heard a total of three, all on WXRT) was "If I Had A Rocket Launcher." I only caught some of the words, and my teenage mind decided it was a cool song about how this guy wants to blow up a bunch of people with a rocket launcher. I even started a mental list of people I'd like to shoot with a rocket launcher.

Of course, Cockburn, being a generally peaceful dude, didn't mean for the song to be taken that way. When I bought the album, the song's true meaning became obvious. Cockburn spent time in Central America in the 1980s and saw the ravages of civil war firsthand. "If I Had A Rocket Launcher" speaks of the frustration and powerlessness he felt in the face of the armies.
Here comes the helicopter -- second time today
Everybody scatters and hopes it goes away
How many kids they've murdered only God can say
If I had a rocket launcher...I'd make somebody pay
...
On the Rio Lacantun, one hundred thousand wait
To fall down from starvation -- or some less humane fate
Cry for Guatemala, with a corpse in every gate
If I had a rocket launcher...I would not hesitate
Since Stealing Fire is my favorite Cockburn album, we'll come back to it later this week.

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