Treasure Island

Francis Duggan


A Ballad Of Wasted Years


I have walked through tougher Harlem where few strangers dare to go
And I've been in London City in the rain and in the snow
And I've worked in inner Melbourne in the searing summer heat
And believe me if I tell you I have earned the bread I eat.

I have laboured in deep trenches with my life I've took a dare
And I've worked in cherry pickers ninety foot up in the air
And the hands of time keep turning and the years go quickly by
And the man who lives on welfare is still better off than I.

And who needs the tag of good worker it's no big deal anyway
He's a wiser and better off man who sits at home all day
And his conscience doesn't prick him isn't he the lucky one
And must I be one great idiot to go labouring in the sun.

I was low in social ladder and I still am way down low
And I feel my life's been wasted for my years have nought to show
Some may say he's a good worker that's of little use to me
All I need is lots of money I don't need your sympathy.

I felt happy for a brief while in a green Land miles away
In that beautiful green Country where I lived for many a day
I felt inwardly contented even though I was quite poor
Listening to the pipits piping in the meads of Annagloor.

Till the wanderlust possessed me I grew restless as the wind
Pity on all migrant workers, pity on all wandering kind
Went to live in foreign city worked with strong hard working men
But I've nought to show for labour I'm poor now as I was then.

In Ireland I cut down pine trees in the hills where bracken grow
And in Wales I picked potatoes many, many years ago
I have laboured for a living on myself I have been cruel
All the World laughs at an idiot all the World laughs at a fool.

I am getting old and weary and what hair I've left is gray
And I'm well beyond the fifty and I've seen a better day
And like the work weary work horse all the better years are gone
And I still work as a labourer and I still keep plodding on.

Please don't say he's a good worker such words I don't wish to hear
For I've nought to show for labour though I've worked for many a year
Words like 'good hard working fellow' does not do a thing for me
All I need is lots of money, I don't need your sympathy.

Submitted: Saturday, February 02, 2008
Edited: Wednesday, April 01, 2009

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  • Veeraiyah Subbulakshmi (12/5/2013 8:32:00 PM)

    Words like 'good hard working fellow' does not do a thing for me
    All I need is lots of money, I don't need your sympathy.

    these words are not from the heart, but from the tired soul..If our social system says that we have to live life like this, who has the guts to change, at least people have the roof, good food and health benefits, though they are tied with mortgages..Nice to read Francis.. (Report) Reply

  • marvin brato (11/6/2013 3:00:00 AM)

    Well, its reality that we have to do work to earn something to sustain our existence...be it in the form of goods or money. For as long as you earn it the honest way then its worth the money you earn. Nevertheless, we have to save for the future when time comes we are old... retirement is good if it is well-provided! Thanks for sharing this honest sentiments. (Report) Reply

  • Richard Lackman (4/18/2013 4:21:00 PM)

    What a great poem! Such a searing look at life. In the end we are all here for a very short while and beyond being healthy not much else matters. All of the money may be fun while you have it but you sure can't take it with you. So the most valuable thing in life is just time and in that sense you are much richer than Steve Jobs. I rally enjoy your poems.
    Dick Lackman (Report) Reply

  • Ruby Honeytip (11/15/2012 7:56:00 PM)

    Hold the applause...just throw cash! !
    I know how you feel...although I am on the female side of this coin.
    8711 poems to go, and I think I'm gonna love them all: ^) (Report) Reply

  • Simon Collins (5/12/2012 10:55:00 AM)

    I have been the same mate, I understand, but at least we can sleep well, good words, thanks (Report) Reply

  • Amrit Rathi (5/22/2010 3:15:00 AM)

    A beautiful poem in which you have poured out your heart with appropriate words for high impact. But you are discounting the rich experience you gathered as money is not everything. Ask one who has a million dollars in his account or is no.1 in his profession whether he is happy and his soul is at peace.Invariably not. Happiness is deep inside, please go through some of my poems which are based on my personal experience.Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Ann Beard (5/20/2010 3:19:00 AM)

    Not wasted Francis, your travels have left you with a kind soul and clear insight, you are really, very wealthy. I thank you for sharing your work. (Report) Reply

Read all 10 comments »

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