A song about my grandad William (1919–2007).
Shall we begin back in County Kildare, Dublin Bill?
Would it be fair to say you weren’t a one for school?
All your bridges swiftly burnt
And your letters left unlearnt,
Just a tearaway, but you could charm them all,
Sooner use your wits than follow any rule.
You took a girl for a romp in the hay, Dublin Bill,
At the farm down the lane, in a shed.
Found some guns in the straw,
Told your dad what you saw.
“Breathe one word of this and we’ll all be dead,”
“Here’s a clip round the ear, now off to bed.”
The next morning you’re put on the boat, Dublin Bill,
Bound for London to live with Auntie May.
When you find out she ain’t real
You don’t know what to think or feel,
Then two ladies of the night kindly say
If you want you are welcome to stay.”
And they taught you to read and to write, Dublin Bill,
Slowly taught you to write and to read.
Then the press-gang hit town,
Combed the streets all around,
They said “Paddy boy, you’re just the kind we need,
You’ll be better off in khaki than in tweed.”
It’s the bomb disposal unit for you, Dublin Bill,
Bomb disposal will suit your steely eye.
Soon you’re shaken to the core,
Can’t do the job no more
When you see your new best mate blown sky high,
God, you cry,
Jesus Christ that ain’t no bleedin way to die.
Well you’re settled down in Ashford, so it seems, Dublin Bill,
And showing fillums at The Flea Pit keeps you calm.
You’ve wed your Chislet girl,
Got one young Patrick, one young Pearl,
But you’re a tearaway so now your winning charm
(Or is it smarm?)
Don’t belong at home but down the Denmark Arms.
Click here for a version on SoundCloud
Click here for a live version at The Anchor in Wingham, June 2017
Click here for a version performed by Cookie, May 2017