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General Winter

As a child bored to numbness in the inadequately heated church, winter was a thing of neither mystery nor magic, but like a school playground, a place of persistant discomfort and petty cruelty.

The death-watch drone from the steeple creeps
And drowns the murmur of the highbrowed parish priest
Drowsing children switch their feet
And fall asleep

The plaster virgin bends her knee
As the congregation choir for evensong convenes
Fat tallow candles and lattice screens
Fill their dreams

Then General Winter takes command
Swings me round again to the cavalry band
He snaps his heels as he proffers his hand
White-jacketed waiters line the walls
With sherry wine subdue the officer corps
As we circle slowly round the shadowy hall

And while the organ sweetly hymns
The sleeping children heed a different voice within
That whispers oaths and secrets sings
And spread their wings

When the night birds shriek at the dawn patrol
And wake me sleeping with their clamouring cold
With a crack of branches from the riverbank blown
General Winter makes it known
That everywhere he bids his regiments go
The morning frostbite takes and holds

Chords:
Intro. Dm D B A G A D
Verse G A D B A G A (B)
Chorus D G A
Instr. Dm C Dm