The Tatie Hokers Of The Seventies

The Tatie Hokers of the seventies where might they be today?
Perhaps some of them are grand parents now and showing their years in gray
And perhaps some of them have gone to the reaper the reaper who will claim us all
But them I still remember and them I still recall.

Too old to pick potatoes for to earn a decent pay
For such hard work for people who are young or so 'twould seem that way
And without a doubt there are easier jobs for one to earn one's livelihood
The pay not big, the work is hard and working conditions far from good.

To those old brown potato fields of Wales by the Atlantic sea
I never shall return to now just a memory
Of the sort of a life style I did lead when I was in my prime
Back in the early seventies when I was new to rhyme.

Dark haired Jodie from Yorkshire back then she was nineteen
The flower of the potato fields she was a beauty queen
With her she had her pet jackdaw his name was little Joe
Though free to fly he never flew away he went where she did go.

Did she marry a gipsy man with hair as black as coal
For each to their own kind they say she was a wandering soul
And did she give birth to children and who knows they too may be
In May picking potatoes by the Atlantic sea?

Mick from Fermoy a hardy sort back then past his prime years
For his Hometown in County Cork he was never moved to tears
Fond of his grog and rather fond of the nomadic life
He was never heard to speak of love and he did not have a wife.

Michael, John and Denis from North Cork back then were at their best
To the hard life of the potato fields they proved equal to the test
I heard that Michael he died young from life's cares he found release
He was a gentle sort of a bloke and may he rest in peace.

And Jack from Shropshire tall and lean his longish hair was black
All day long in the potato fields he worked with bended back
He was a generous sort of a bloke and in him nothing small
But he had a fondness for the beer and grog was his downfall.

On looking back the decades the years just seemed to fly
Above those old potato fields the gulls mewed in the sky
But that was thirty years ago and the baby at that time
Is the ageing father of today and fading from his prime.

The Tatie Hokers of the seventies where might they be today
Perhaps they bow to father time and show their years in gray
And across the brown potato fields the cool sea breezes blow
Where I picked the new spuds in May some thirty years ago.

by Francis Duggan

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