Francis Duggan

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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.

Poem Submitted: Saturday, February 2, 2008
Poem Edited: Wednesday, April 1, 2009

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Comments about A Ballad Of Wasted Years by Francis Duggan

  • Keith BrownKeith Brown (4/24/2020 9:30:00 PM)

    A year is never wasted if it provides even only one memory, great poem and a bit of a message

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  • Stephen LoomesStephen Loomes (12/4/2019 9:19:00 PM)

    I can't help you with the need for money. which we all share. but I will pay you a compliment, that you are an honest, natural poet, and I enjoy your labours in ink

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  • Gerald (9/13/2019 9:11:00 AM)

    very useful and sagacious. Thanks

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  • Prabir GayenPrabir Gayen (6/23/2019 4:23:00 AM)

    Very beautiful poem dear poet..... thanks////

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  • Richard D RemlerRichard D Remler (2/21/2019 4:22:00 PM)

    This is very good. A precise and potent mix of experience and reality. Well done. tyfs

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  • Lemon (5/6/2018 8:29:00 PM)

    Can I please ask what’s the theme of this Poem. Its amazing

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  • Peter StavropoulosPeter Stavropoulos (3/18/2018 2:45:00 AM)

    Lovely write, Francis. I really enjoyed it. It pulled the heart strings. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

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  • Cassandra Macgibbon (2/15/2018 5:03:00 PM)

    an amazing poet wow!

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  • Terry CraddockTerry Craddock (1/1/2017 11:14:00 PM)

    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.'

    once I believed change, changing jobs travel though working was better than a holiday, I did four long years time chained in place to one job as an apprentice, freedom called long and hard

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  • Richard Wlodarski (11/14/2016 10:08:00 PM)

    Awesome! Your words were conjuring images of Maya Angelou and Joan Baez. The same way that I love reading and listening to them, I will continue enjoying your poetry. Thank you so much for sharing such pain and such strength.

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  • Saint CynosureSaint Cynosure (9/4/2016 6:44:00 PM)

    Francis has poets we have the toughest job, pleasing our readers daily...
    Blessings, Saint.

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  • Joe HughesJoe Hughes (7/12/2016 5:02:00 AM)

    A lovely change of style for you Francis. I love the lilt and bouncing rhythm of this beautiful poem . Having worked in trade unions for much of my life I can identify with all of the sentiments which you express here. I was always on the pocket line and manning the demonstrations and speaking endlessly to the media on the subject of poor pay for NHS workers. Marvellous and so much more of your work to enjoy. Thank you.

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  • Louis RamsLouis Rams (6/16/2016 11:19:00 PM)

    we are but mere commoners working for a wage, as we are torn apart
    with bitterness and rage.
    others reap the rewards as we slave day and night just to put food on the table
    doing what we think is right.
    many are on welfare claiming disability, and driving big Cadillacs- this I just can't see.

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  • Susan WilliamsSusan Williams (3/9/2016 3:30:00 PM)

    Absolutely well-written poem here. You know what, the heck with commenting on it, I'm going to go read it again and again..

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  • Liza SudinaLiza Sudina (10/15/2015 2:34:00 AM)

    You are a very talented poet! a big story of your life! you know - our life is endless (I have a faith) - and this faith should make you fly over all sorrows and their sympathies or antisympathies.
    and not the whole world is laughing at you! I'm not laughing at all! I feel compassion.
    all the unjustness - will be punished by God!

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  • Rajnish MangaRajnish Manga (2/22/2015 10:34:00 PM)

    Very moving story indeed and inspirational too- on many counts. This is an emotional and soul-stirring commentary on the condition of migrant labourers who get uprooted from their native lands and its relative joys. Following lines are worth pondering: I felt inwardly contented even though I was quite poor... / Till the wanderlust possessed me I grew restless as the wind. Thanks.

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  • Phyllis StrongPhyllis Strong (2/22/2015 3:29:00 PM)

    This is a great poem; I enjoyed it so much that I had to read some of his other poems. He’s a very talented poet.

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  • Phyllis StrongPhyllis Strong (2/22/2015 3:27:00 PM)

    This is a great poem; I enjoyed it so much that I had to read some of his other poems. He’s a very talented poet.

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  • Brian StaffordBrian Stafford (2/22/2015 9:26:00 AM)

    Alas, we are all children of chance, the victims of circumstance. well done.

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  • Edward Clapham (2/22/2015 8:02:00 AM)

    I respect this man: he ploughs his own furrow, and asks for nothing from the common purse. Yet he has earnt it: it s not sympathy, but respect of a life lived hard.

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