A Ballad Of Wasted Years

I have walked through tougher Harlem where few strangers dare to go
And I've been in London City in the rain and in the snow
And I've worked in inner Melbourne in the searing summer heat
And believe me if I tell you I have earned the bread I eat.

I have laboured in deep trenches with my life I've took a dare
And I've worked in cherry pickers ninety foot up in the air
And the hands of time keep turning and the years go quickly by
And the man who lives on welfare is still better off than I.

And who needs the tag of good worker it's no big deal anyway
He's a wiser and better off man who sits at home all day
And his conscience doesn't prick him isn't he the lucky one
And must I be one great idiot to go labouring in the sun.

I was low in social ladder and I still am way down low
And I feel my life's been wasted for my years have nought to show
Some may say he's a good worker that's of little use to me
All I need is lots of money I don't need your sympathy.

I felt happy for a brief while in a green Land miles away
In that beautiful green Country where I lived for many a day
I felt inwardly contented even though I was quite poor
Listening to the pipits piping in the meads of Annagloor.

Till the wanderlust possessed me I grew restless as the wind
Pity on all migrant workers, pity on all wandering kind
Went to live in foreign city worked with strong hard working men
But I've nought to show for labour I'm poor now as I was then.

In Ireland I cut down pine trees in the hills where bracken grow
And in Wales I picked potatoes many, many years ago
I have laboured for a living on myself I have been cruel
All the World laughs at an idiot all the World laughs at a fool.

I am getting old and weary and what hair I've left is gray
And I'm well beyond the fifty and I've seen a better day
And like the work weary work horse all the better years are gone
And I still work as a labourer and I still keep plodding on.

Please don't say he's a good worker such words I don't wish to hear
For I've nought to show for labour though I've worked for many a year
Words like 'good hard working fellow' does not do a thing for me
All I need is lots of money, I don't need your sympathy.

by Francis Duggan

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