The Shovels Number Nine (Paul O’Brien)

 

Who shall tell the stories

Of we ordinary men

How we humped the tons of timber

How we loaded cart and van

How our songs they raised the rafters

With our shirts stuck to our backs

When the arms that raised our glasses

Had raised a million sacks

 

Who will tell our stories

Who will recall the times

Of the early morning houses

And the Shovels Number Nine

 

Who will greet the morning

And remember us who stood

To beg and bribe for labour

Like no honest man should

Who will sing our praises

When our useful days are past

How we gave our backs in service

As tools for the merchant class

 

Who will tell our stories

Who will recall the times

Of the early morning houses

And the Shovels Number Nine

 

The whistle of the winch man

On a quick turnabout

The father in the anthracite

His son calling out

The foremen and the checkers

The cobbles and the rain

The boxes stacked like mountains

We’ll never see again

 

Who will tell our stories

Who will recall the times

Of the early morning houses

And the Shovels Number Nine

 

The early morning houses

And the Shovels Number Nine