The Trillion Souls - a poem by Andy West

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On February 14, 2015, QSO premieres Gordon Hamilton’s The Trillion Souls, which is inspired by BBC reporter Andy West’s poem of the same title; a poem in memory of the countless men and women who had to hide their sexuality. 

Note: This text contains language and themes which may not be suitable for all ages.

(Italicised Stanzas are not sung)

The Trillion Souls
Poem by Andy West

Come join us here, the trillion souls
Who lived and loved and longed alone
The decent men and decent women
Whose passions slept unknown.

We ask you now to grip our hands
And rise up from the dirt
Then shake the mud they threw at you
And bury all your hurt.

The pious priests are shadows now
The bible leafs have curled
Your sins were never yours to own
They rotted with your world.

We think of you, the shamefaced girls
Who wept upon your beds
And suffered years of wretched sex
Whilst crying in your heads.

And all the men, who loved in sin
Though caring for their wives
They hid their passion and hid the truth
And hid for all their lives.

The beaten son with broken hopes
The daughter, shunned and damned
The hopeless children ostracised
When the family door was slammed.

To all the cretins in your homes
Who sniggered at our pride
We throw your doctrines in a pyre
A trillion bibles wide.

The days when poofters had to hide
Have gone now, they are dead
The chance to love has been unlocked
By the freedom that you dread.

I'm thinking of our soldiers now
The queers who called for change
And marched their way past Parliament
When no hope seemed in range.

They stood alone. They stared them down
Though damning words were hurled
And marched and fought and held their ground
As the rainbow flag unfurled.

I could not love without their fight
I would never have been free
Without their war to let me live
As the man I'm meant to be.

So gather here, the trillion souls
Who lived and loved and longed alone
Who heard us calling from the light
To rise up and be known.

We watch them lift from poisoned earth
And stare up to the stars
The tortured souls, all born too soon
Still carrying their scars.


They mingle with the wedding guests
And think about their lives
Whilst watching in bewilderment
Gay husbands and gay wives.

Justice wrote our marriage vows
And freedom is our host
The congregation of lost lives
Can help us raise a toast.

To all those trillion wasted souls
Who lived and loved and longed alone
The decent men and decent women
Whose passions slept unknown.


The ancient man who died in tears
A frightened queer, a fake
The secret dyke whose heart was dead
We marry for your sake.

You may have lived through cruelty
Been tortured, hurt and shamed
But today the bigots and the dim
Have had their voices tamed.

We won't forget your torture, nor
The cruelty that you faced
So with this ring, we promise you
Your life was not a waste.

You are with us, the trillion souls
Who lived and loved and longed alone
The decent men and decent women
Whose passions slept unknown.