The Bricklayer's Song



 

The Bricklayer's Song 
The Bricklayer's Lament was told by Gerard Hoffnung 
at the Oxford Union, December 4th, 1958. 
More recently it was converted into a song. 

Dear sir I write this note to you to tell you of me plight,
For at the time of writing it, I'm not a pretty sight,
Me body is all black & blue, me face a deathly grey,
And I write this note to say why I am not at work today.

While working on the 14th floor some bricks I had to clear,
But tossing them down from such a height, was not a good idea,
The foreman wasn't very pleased, he is an awkward sod,
and he said I had to cart them down the ladders in me hod.

Well clearing all these bricks by hand, it was so very slow,
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured a rope below.
But in me haste to do the job, I was too blind to see,
That a barrel full of building bricks was heavier than me.

And so when I untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead,
And clinging tightly to the rope, I started up instead.
I shot up like a rocket, and to my dismay I found
That halfway up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

Well, the barrel broke me shoulder as to the ground it sped,
And when I reached the top, I banged the pulley with me head.
But I clung on tightly, numb with shock, from this almighty blow,
While the barrel spilled out half its bricks some fourteen floors below.
Now when these bricks had fallen from the barrel to the floor,
I then outweighed the barrel & so started down once more.

But I clung on tightly to the rope, me body wracked with pain,
And halfway down I met the bloody barrel once again.
The force of this collision halfway down the office block,
Caused multiple abrasions and a nasty case of shock,
But I clung on tightly to the rope as I fell towards the ground,
And I landed on the broken bricks the barrel had scattered round.

Well as I lay there on the floor I thought I'd passed the worst,
But the barrel hit the pulley wheel & then the bottom burst.
A shower of bricks rained down on me; I didn't have a hope.
As I lay there bleeding on the ground I let go the bloody rope.
The barrel now being heavier, it started down once more.
It landed right across me as I lay there on the floor.
It broke three ribs and my left arm, and I can only say,
"I hope you'll understand why I am not at work today."

Song by Ray Stevens


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