1,993,606 Pages

The Testimony of Patience Kershaw

This song is by The Unthanks and appears on the album Here's The Tender Coming (2009).

It's good of you to ask me, Sir, to tell you how I spend the day
Well in a coal black tunnel, Sir, I hurry corves to earn my pay
The corves are full of coal, kind Sir, I push them with my hands and head
It isn't lady-like, but Sir, you've got to earn your daily bread

I push them with my hands and head, and so my hair gets worn away
You see this baldy patch I've got, it shames me like I just can't say
A lady's hands are lily white, but mine are full of cuts and segs
And since I'm pushing all the time, I've great big muscles on my legs

I try to be respectable, but sir, the shame, God save my soul
I work with naked, sweating men who curse and swear and hew the coal
The sights, the smells, the sounds, kind Sir, not even God could sense my shame
I say my prayers, but what's the use? Tomorrow will be just the same

Now, sometimes, Sir, I don't feel well, my stomach's sick, my head it aches
I've got to hurry best I can. My knees feel weak, my back near breaks
And then I'm slow, and then I'm scared these naked men will batter me
They can't be blamed, but if I'm slow, their families will starve, you see

All the lads, they laugh at me, and Sir, the mirror tells me why
Pale and dirty can't look nice. It doesn't matter how I try
Great big muscles on my legs, a baldy patch upon my head
A lady, Sir? Oh, no, not me! I should have been a boy instead

I praise your good intentions, Sir, I love your kind and gentle heart
But now it's 1842, and you and me, we're miles apart
A hundred years and more will pass before we're walking side by side
But please accept my grateful thanks. God bless you Sir, at least you tried

External links