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A Sawmill Worker's Lament
Curse the sun the wretched sun and scalding hands of mine
Wood's a burden we carry neither slow, neither tarry.
Work it, boy time's-a slipping sweat's-a dripping
How I'd love to be single drinking a churn o' wine.
Momma said, pappy said and preacher Jim told of God so high
I was to work, I was to gain, then die a lonely man.
Pushin' the logs that feed the *hogs
Suffocating on my sweat in filthy bogs.
My dreams an empty span I was once a married man
Lovin' Louise a salty kind with face of gold and lips of wine.
Two kids, three kids my pay can't feed but one
55 hours and one long Sunday gots a drunk-a brewing
So drunk, I dream, I cant think. I can't run.
More logs the devil and demons ride for free
Teasing the *driver who gets friendly, but cusses me.
More logs the morning, some logs at night
I ain't nowhere I once was when young was right.
Oh, blessed clouds of rain so cold
Boast yourself against my burden and splinters so bold.
Toil, backache and skinned hands are mine
Wish I was turning 12 sipping uncle Bob's honeysuckle wine.
Oh, my dinner's a crust while boss eats trust
And Willy's passed out in the filth again.
Chains, curses, belts and mules a-brayin'
My world cursed and no use in prayin'.
One more day behind and one more day I'm dead
Blood's on my old hands running a vile tomato red.
No colors here and no friend but fear
Sweat's in my vision and can't swear in his ear.
Sun's gone down and boss storms around
Laughing at me in soaking clothes.
"Get ye' butt home and back by 2," the devil swears
Fool don't know that death come in pairs.
Wish it was three ol' death and me
Can't eat, bloody feet, and Louise is gone again.
Kids-a crying, don't see me dying
And God can't punish me for lying.
*Hogs, driver -- metaphors for (a) boss in vintage sawmills.
© 2016 Kenneth Avery