The late James Jim Duffy, of Walsh Island, passed away tragically in a work accident in Portarlington last month. His family have asked that we publish one of his poems as a mark of respect.
Working on the Building Site
I tried my hand at typing when was fiftysix,
I fount it was much easier than laying blocks or bricks,
Or working on a building site in wind and rain and frost,
And shovel'n sand into a mixer breaking your back at any cost.
'Cos when you're young 'n hardy,
You can pull and drag all day,
'til your body grows tired of lifting, and says, now it's time to pay.
But when all the pulling and dragging starts to take its toll, they don't want you on a building site, they tell ya, you're too old!
You're riddled with arthritis from working in the rain,
Your hands are rough and swollen and your fingers bent with pain.
Now you're a public liability 'cos you can't move very fast. You can't go on a building site without your up-to-date safepass.
If you end up working on the buildings you might think yourself a fool, 'cos you didn't go to college and you couldn't finish school.
Here I met the best of tradesmen that could hardly write their name.
With their hands, these men were gifted, they could put Michelangelo to shame.
You'll work long hours on a building site until there is no light,
Then go looking for your wages around the town on Friday night.
And when there's no sign of the gaffer, you'll go looking for a sub,
You ring your friend and ask him. He says, “meet me in the pub”.
Ah! Sure there the craic is mighty, you lose all yer cares in life,
You'd even lose your memory and forget you have a wife.
'Cos she's at home there worrying, hoping you're alright, and prays to Padre Pio that you won't get too drunk tonight.
At the time it was the culture, everybody did the same, if you ditched the care while you were drunk, Arthur Guinness got the blame.
Now I'm living in my sunset years, I've seen the light at last and hope its not too late to mend the errors of the past.
Now we've all this health and safety nowadays, on the building site,
But you'll find yourself behind a ditch if you want to have a...!
If you throw away the paper that wraps our jumbo breakfeast roll,
You may pull up a wisp of grass if you want to wipe your ...!
When first I started on the buildings, I often wondered how I stuck it,
'Cos there was no telporter then just a ladder and a bucket,
You'd be up and down the ladder a thousand times a day,
You were lucky if you had the time to have a cup of tae.