The Boys of the Basin Canal

Crawfish Lacey and Mick o' Neill, sweated 'til it hid their tears. 

Sinking in a swamp, still they trudged on, as they dreamt of the old country. 

I still see them now when I shut my eyes,  as insects hum in warm afternoon. 

Etched in blood and grit and mud-the boys of the basin canal. 

Spailpíns all, we heard the call,  straight from the shipyards we came. 

Hope sunk in a swamp, for a dollar a day. Who knows how many did fall? 

  Disease knocked us down, as the bosses scowled- "a terrible loss of dollars today." 

"What great bother if they die?" I hear them cry, "There's more arriving every day." 

I'd had enough, though they wanted more, they break you for gold, full shame. 

So I took my pack and and never looked back, and I walked on down the long road. 

When I heard Lacey died I pitied O' Neill, toiling aggrieved and alone. 

Against Gael and Gall like a beast he howled- at the moon, and the night, and the sea. 

When I reached the Bayou, I sent the word "don't rage aggrieved and alone."

"There's a trade to be had if you hit the road and come down to the Irish Bayou." 

O' Neill made it out, threw his shovel down he followed me down the quiet coast- 

where the fresh breezes blow and the wild flowers grow, way down on the Irish bayou. 

Though the day is long, on the rolling wave, on the wide open plains of the sea, 

no green fields of land, nor arab sands, could tempt me away I am free.