Ghosts

© Colin Bargery 1980

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Our names are not in history books
We are in the space between the pages
What lay within our muddied skin
No-one cared and no-one wondered
Our chroniclers were the inky clerks
Who kept the record of our wages
And the checking men who counted us
Yet counted we remain un-numbered

Our deeds are in between the rows
Of numbers in the calculations
Of rates of pay and yards per day
And in jottings made by engineers
Our lives are measured in the length,
The depth and breadth of navigation
The locks and bridges that we made
To damn our sweat and span our years

Our deaths are buried in reports
Of soft earth that the rain made softer
Of falling rock, collapsing locks
And disease among the workmen's huts
Our headstones are the registers
Of costs against the parish coffers
So much to pay the parson's fee
So much to dig the six-foot cut

Our memorial is in the bricks
The banks, the puddle and the mortar
Our cenotaph is the towing path
Where now you take your recreation
And our requiem is in the breeze
That whispers on the silent water
We leave no fame
We leave no name
But we have left the navigation

Kindly contributed by Tony Haynes who performs it in the above clip..