I was the seventh child in a family of four,
the second born, do I need to say more?
Well perhaps I should fill in a few gaps,
or you could remain confused perhaps...
Yes I was the second boy born to my mother,
five girls came before me I did discover,
four boys in all were to follow my dad,
down to the dole queue, no jobs to be had.
No Jobs For A Man was all dad would say,
just a few ads for a lass, the same every day
and so the poverty we all knew as many before
was plain to all those that came by our door.
It was the time of depression between the great wars,
the shipyards were idle, the pits dug no more,
all the efforts of unions brought little relief,
fitters had nowt to fit, nowt to eat, nowt but grief.
For grief came to many as families felt the cruel
grasp of TB and rickets that kept children from school,
such was the prize for those veterans that survived the war,
no prospects for their kids to keep the wolf from the door.
They had stood most of the losses that any man might take,
in trenches as bullets and worse killed many of their mates,
back home they should have had their just reward,
but back in the thirties they were largely ignored.
For profit and health care were but for the few,
death came to most folk before they aged forty two,
lungs damaged by coal dust and smoke and TB
in those cruel years afore we ever heard of TV...
March 26th 2011