NOTE FROM DOM: This song is based on a poem that has circulated among U.S. military personnel since at least as far back as World War II. The poem is usually titled "The Soldier's Poem," but has also been found under the name "The Final Inspection" or simply "The Soldier." The author is unknown. This musical version is called "Walk Peacefully" because that two-word command became a fitting refrain during the song's long resolution. The lyrics are very close to the original poem, but have slight changes to make them a better fit for the rhythm of the singing or to keep the storytelling clear through the pauses and movements of the music.
The soldier stood before God, which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining, as brightly as his brass.
God said to the soldier, "What shall I do with you?
Step forward now and tell, have you to me been true?"
The soldier squared his shoulders and said, "No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
'Cause those of us who carry guns can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays, and at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent, for the world is awfully rough.
But I never took a penny that wasn't mine to keep,
Though I worked a lot of overtime, when the bills were steep.
But I never passed a cry for help, though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, Lord, forgive me, I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place among the people here.
They never wanted me around, except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me, Lord, it needn't be so grand.
I never had or expected much, so if you don't, I'll understand."
A silence swept around the throne where saints had often trod.
The soldier waited at attention for a word from God.
God said to the soldier, "You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets. You've done your time in Hell."
Song navigator (click titles)
Remember Me - - Proud of Him - - Heartbeat Lullaby - - When I Get Back - - Walk Peacefully