Downhill

It’s not far from Jerusalem
Down to Jericho;
No, it’s not far down to that Dead Sea town,
But the way is hard, across stony ground
And stuff gets lost and stuff gets found
As down the track you go
To the town of Jericho.

Now the people in Jerusalem
Are holy, so I’ve heard.
Way up there, in the clean, pure air;
They sing their Psalms without a care;
They walk around in a haze of prayer;
Just chanting holy words;
And sacrificing birds.

And the people down in Jericho?
Well, they’re not quite the same.
Where life is hard, you learn to fight
And you don’t look left, and you don’t look right,
You keep all those little lies wrapped up tight,
And no-one knows your name,
As you silently carry your pain.

My patch is outside Jericho,
In the hills above the town.
I’ve been working here for many years
I sit and wait, till someone nears,
One kick, one blow, one scream of fear,
And soon I’ve got them down
And helpless on the ground.

Tonight, though, it was different;
Tonight things went awry;
Tonight it was me, who they attacked,
They snapped my bones, and broke my back,
And I’ve never seen the clouds so black
As they filled the bleak night sky.
And I lie in the cold, and cry.

Now who will show me mercy?
Who will save my soul?
I’ve lived my life to a simple code
Kill or be killed; take more than you’re owed;
Those are the rules of the Jericho road;
And that is all I know
From life in Jericho.

Oh, it’s easy to be holy,
Up in the Temple Halls;
Yes, up there in Jerusalem,
You can say your prayers, you can shout ‘Amen!’
And you don’t have to come and rescue men,
No, you don’t have to look at all
At the victims where they fall.

I wish the world were different,
And not as hard as stone;
I wish there were those who could walk this road
And not turn hard, and not turn cold,
I wish they would come to me now and show
The way I could go home;
And not die here, alone.

It’s not far from Jerusalem
Down to Jericho;
No, it’s not far down to this Dead Sea town,
But the way is hard, across stony ground;
And many get lost, and few get found
As down the track you go
To the town of Jericho.