The Catch-Boy (A Belfast Lullaby)

 

 

Do you hear the hammers my wee Sammy

From the bed where in you lie?

In the morning down on Queen’s Island

You’re starting as a heater-boy

You put your name to the indenture

Singing up for five long years

Witnessed by the shipyard agent

Father’s pride and mother’s tears

 

Hear the men bang in those rivets

Watch them from the shoulder swing

Holder-on just keep her steady

Let the six-pound hammers sing

 

Months of sweating at the furnace

Working as a heater boy

Bringing home six shiny shillings

Be your mammies pride and joy

Shovel coal and heat the metal

Both your feet on solid ground

Where you’ll learn to serve your betters

Watch out when a ‘hat’ comes ‘round

 

Hear the men bang in those rivets

Watch them from the shoulder swing

Holder-on just keep her steady

Let the six-pound hammers sing

 

Toss that rivet to the catch-boy

He can grab it with his tongs

And climb the scaffold like a monkey

Speed it up the day is long

Heater catch-boy holder on

You’ll be a basher by and by

Collect the ‘blood’ and earn your ‘duncher

Watch how five long years can fly

 

Hear the men bang in those rivets

Watch them from the shoulder swing

Holder-on just keep her steady

Let the six-pound hammers sing

 

Do you hear the hammers my wee Sammy

From the grave where in you lie?

Working on the ‘Ship of Dreams’

First to fall and first to die