Kilroy Was Here

Ewan MacColl
Language: English

Who was here when they handed out the heavy jobs
Jobs with the hammer, the pick and shovel
Who choked in the foundry, froze at the fish docks,
Eight days to the week?

Who was here with a mile of rock above him,
Three-foot seam in the darkness crouching
Stinging sweat in his eyes, powdered rock in his spittle
A hundred minutes to the hour?

Who was here in the furrowed fields stooped over
Pain shapes the question in bone and muscle
Roots and hands competing, fumbling, groping
Twenty-eight hours to the day?

Who was here in a world of steam and clamour
Feeding Leviathan in his cavern
Breathing the hot sharp stink of metal
Five weeks to the month?

Hey you, dog's body, what do they call you?
Who cleans up the mess when the fighting's over?
Who carries the broom, the mop and the bucket
Thirty-six months to the year?

Smooth-faced old boy-men instructed him
Geldings programmed his energy
Coached in running by men whose arches had fallen
Dead men told him how to live.

Kilroy, Kilroy—where has Kilroy gone?
Kilroy was here, see there's his mark.
He came this way, he was wearing his number.
Did nobody see him pass?

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