Ballad of accounting

from by Phil Edwards

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lyrics

In the morning we built our city
In the afternoon walked through its streets
Evening saw us leaving
We wandered through our days as if they would never end
All of us imagined we had endless time to spend
We barely saw the crossroads and small attention gave
To the landmarks on the journey from the cradle to the grave

Did you learn to dream in the morning?
Abandon dreams in the afternoon?
Wait without hope in the evening?
Did you stand there in the traces and let them feed you lies?
Did you follow on behind them wearing blinkers on your eyes?
Did you kiss the foot that kicked you, thank them for their scorn?
Did you beg for their forgiveness for the act of being born?

Did you alter the face of the city?
Make any change in the world you found?
Or did you observe all the warnings?
Did you read the trespass notices, did you keep off the grass?
Did you shuffle up the pavements just to let your betters pass?
Did you learn to keep your mouth shut, were you seen but never heard?
Did you learn to be obedient and to jump to at a word?

Did you ever demand any answers?
The who and the what and the reason why?
Did you ever question the setup?
Did you stand aside and let them choose while you took second best?
Did you let them skim the cream off and then give to you the rest?
Did you settle for the shoddy and did you think it right
To let them rob you right and left and never make a fight?

What did you learn in the morning?
How much did you know in the afternoon?
Were you content in the evening?
Did they teach you to ask questions when you were at the school?
Did the factory help you grow, were you the maker or the tool?
Did the place where you were living enrich your life and then
Did you reach some understanding of all your fellow men?

credits

from 52 Folk Songs: Red, released July 21, 2012
By Ewan MacColl

Phil Edwards: vocals

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Phil Edwards Manchester, UK

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