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lyrics

Atlas

Atlas
I toiled four score and seven long years
with the hymns of my family plugging my ears
To keep out the beating of their bodies like drums
I finally escaped on a submarine train
My legs were the wheels, my lungs were the flames
that burned with all I ran from

When at last I felt safe and let down my guard
That’s when they came and chased me down hard
and shipped me off to the war
They gave me a gun and another man’s boots
and they said to me, “Son, welcome to the troops.”
All the tools to fight. Sent me swimming for the shore.

This world on my shoulders is getting heavy.
I’m getting older.

I heard the mortar shell screams, and when they finally fell
I carried the wounded through heaven and hell
and laid them in white cotton graves.
And in the morning that followed,
the blood and the dust was so thick on my hands,
a second earth’s crust that cracked but refused to wash away.

So across the great deep I sailed like a song
floating over the airways, starboard and strong
until I reached the east coast.
And in that ripe rotten city, that brown apple core
they gave me a bite as my hero’s reward,
but an honest wage was all I hungered for.

This world on my shoulders is getting heavy.
I’m getting older.

So I worked with my hands the tools of the earth,
and I knew my wife well, and soon she gave birth
to a child we both would raise.
Now I hide from my boy all the things that I’ve done
and he carries the void like a cross-bearing son.
I can only hope he finds a better way.

This world on my shoulders is getting heavy, it's getting colder.
This world on my shoulders is getting heavy, and I’m getting older.

credits

from Before the War, released November 19, 2013

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The Wallings Jr. Fort Worth, Texas

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