Henry's Songbook

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Lament For The Death Of A Nobody

  • (Ewan MacColl)

    As I was a-walking down by the Thameside
    I spied a dead body washed away by the tide

    Borne along on the river it slowly drew near
    To the oily black water by Westminster Pier

    Grey stubbled face with its halo of scum
    Eyes blindly staring at the high noonday sun

    They took him to Southwark to the mortuary there
    And hosed down his body and shaved off his hair

    They noted its scars and distinguishing marks
    They weighed him and measured him under mercury arcs

    They laid him to rest on a bed of white tiles
    His life story entered in the mortuary files

    They tagged his belongings, his clothes and a ring
    A pipe, some tobacco and a small piece of string

    A pension book bearing the name 'Thomas Black'
    An old-fashioned time-piece inscribed on the back

    For fifty years' service, devotion supreme
    From grateful employers this token of esteem

    A good quiet worker, not given to strife
    Who never once questioned the boss in his life

    They gave him a watch when the bade him good bye
    So that he could measure his life slipping by

    It ticked through the empty days loud in his ears
    A bright death-watch beetle undermining the years

    Then one act of protest, one moment of strife
    They called it a crime when he took his own life

    Now this lump of great silence has finished with time
    He demanded so little - and that was his crime

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1972:] At a conference of psychiatric workers held in Britain in 1968, a statistical survey indicated that the suicide rate among recently retired male workers was considerably higher than among other male groups. In the course of the discussion, the term 'gold watch syndrome' was used and widely reported by the popular press. (Notes Ewan MacColl, 'Solo Flight')

Quelle: England

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aktualisiert am 5.09.2000