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Song of the Sheetmetal Worker

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Song of the Sheetmetal Worker

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Song of the Sheetmetal Worker
(John Dengate)

Oh when I was a boy in Carlingford all sixty years ago,
The eucalypts grew straight and tall and the creeks did sweetly flow,
But times were hard when the old man died and the orchard would not pay
So I left the land for the factory bench and I'm working there still today.

I have earned my bread in the metal shops for forty years and more
My hands are hard and acid-scarred as the boards on the workshop floor.
My soul is sheathed in Kembla steel and my eyelids have turned to brass
And the orchard's gone, and the apple trees where the wind whispered
     through the grass.

The workshop is my altar where I come to take the host.
Copper, brass and fine sheet steel-father son and holy ghost.
The sacramental wine of work grows sour upon my tongue;
Oh the fruit was sweet on the apple trees when my brothers and I were young.

(Published in New City Songster and recorded on Rebel Chorus)
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III