1. The Black Flag

From the recording The Journeyman

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A song based on Jesus in the wilderness. How one person comes back and gives an account of what has happened, without corroborating evidence or another witness account. It is a song about faith and doubt and it considers the option that the Devil won the debate but told Jesus to go back and say that he had won instead.


The Black Flag

I saw the stars on that black flag, flying over me
I was barefoot in this desert, cold sand under my feet
I was swearing at no-one, and turning my rosary
I was trying to understand what was happening to me
I’ve been thirstier than this, in the heart of a bar
I’ve been colder and colder, and colder by far
I’ve walked alone but I’ve never, never been afraid
But I can’t say why it feels like nothing gets heard
Then I saw the lightning up yonder, like a white sign
Saying beloved take care, I’ve got fire on my side
You wanna try and betray me, well I’m gonna find out
Confession and redemption that’s what this is all about
But all I know in this world, is that there’s truth and there’s lies
And we’re all dwelling right here, on the borderline
And if it’s the black flag of heaven, flying over this Hell
Then a sinner like me can be saved as well
I heard a wild dog howling, raging at the moon
Like it was guarding something, more precious than stones
But there’s nothing here that anyone, would want to keep
Just a promise that somewhere else there’s an innocent sleep
But I’ll be cursed from here, to my dying day
‘Cause I believed the Devil, and what he had to say
That faith was a rock, and if I walked a barefoot mile
I could find it again, that I’d be reconciled
Now I’m left standing here, on the bloodstained ground
I’ve got a smile as narrow as twilight, and sand in my wounds
There’s blood like water, but nothing’s gonna grow
‘Cause no-one here is ever gonna reap, what they sow
And if the flag hung heavy, and the stars all fell
There’d be nothing new under heaven, or over Hell
And if we’re all lost, well some of us are free
The black flag, the desert, the dog and me
The black flag, the desert, the dog and me
The black flag, the desert, the dog and me
The black flag

© The Black Flag words & music by Thomas Yule Fairnie 31st January 2002