(20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England)

The Killing Place

We're hiking along at a two-forty pace
We 're making life seem like a man-killing race,
With our nerves all on edge and our jaws firmly set
We go rushing along; with our brows lined with sweat
And our cheeks pale and drawn every minute we dash,
And the goal that we 're after is merely more cash.

We 're out for the money, the greenbacks and gold,
We 're all scared to death we'll be poor when we're old;
We want the mazuma, and want it right now,
And we spend all our time at the desk and the plow,
We 're working like navvies, refusing to see
The gold of the sun and the green of the tree.

We've got in a rut that the dollar sign dug,
And we 're plainly obsessed by the millionaire bug;
We've loaded our backs till they bend with the strain
And we lug and we tug at our burdens in vain;
With never a minute for laughter and fun,
Or the green of the tree and the gold of the sun.

A few of us land in the millionaire class,
But only to find that our gold is all brass;
That the money we've got we would gladly give back
For a stomach and liver that weren't out of whack;
For legs that were supple and eyes that could see
The gold of the sun and the green of the tree.

The trouble with us is we 're working too hard,
We ought to get out with the kids in the yard,
We ought to let slip a few dollars to play
With the friends that we love, and we ought to be gay;
The pace is too fast for our nerves and our health,
We should laugh more and cut out this chase after wealth.

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