A Ballad Of Wasted Years Poem by Francis Duggan

A Ballad Of Wasted Years

Rating: 4.1

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.

Susan Williams 09 March 2016

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

8 1 Reply
Louis Rams 16 June 2016

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.

3 1 Reply
Joe Hughes 12 July 2016

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.

2 1 Reply
Saint Cynosure 04 September 2016

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

2 1 Reply
Richard Wlodarski 14 November 2016

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.

3 0 Reply
louis rams 14 December 2023

I feel like a speçk od dust next to you and you give me the urge ro continue b to write

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Keith Brown 24 April 2020

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

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Gerald 13 September 2019

very useful and sagacious. Thanks

1 1 Reply
Prabir Gayen 23 June 2019

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

0 2 Reply
Richard D Remler 21 February 2019

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

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