Christmas Eve in the Workhouse
CHRISTMAS EVE IN THE WORKHOUSE.
The following poem is taken from an untitled pamphlet published in 1972
by Black and Red in Leeds, Yorkshire.
It was Christmas Eve in the workhouse
The beadle was pissed as a newt,
The cold froze the porridge right over
And affected brass monkeys to boot.
The paupers looked forward to Christmas
As a time of indulgence and fun,
They got cocoa instead of cold water
A cracker, double porridge and buns.
The dinner was really the favourite
The thing they looked forward to best,
Featuring bulk issue reconstitute chicken
Which weren’t poorly but just looked depressed.
They could sing if they did it quietly
They could eat until they nearly felt full
They could kneel and pray extra long praises
Give thanks and other such bull.
So excitement were rising each minute
As Christmas came nearer their way
But just seconds before it struck midnight
A terrible voice said “Nay!”
“What bastard has pissed in me clog!”
(Twas the beadle who shouted in rage)
“For this no-one eats Christmas dinner
And I’ll put you each back in your cage.”
For he was a sensitive person
Who liked a laugh with the lads
But he got the hump at pissing in footwear
He’d borrowed that day off his dad.
“You’ll have nowt but stale bread and water”
Said he “Till the culprit owns up”
But no-one said they had done it
So the beadle locked them all up.
They spent the whole day bewailing
That their dinner had gone to the dog
And they cursed in despair that awful day
Someone pissed in the beadle’s clog.
But here comes that part of the story
The moral and pointed bit
That makes you see God’s got a plan
So you laugh and don’t give a shit:
The chicken was packed in Argentina
A friendly South American place
And was teeming and creeping with typhoid
That came from the old River Plate.
And so in the other workhouses
The paupers were dropping like flies
But as to this one it was only
The usual high average died.
And the paupers danced and sang praises
That they’d only had water and bread
Which doubled as a wake for the beadle who’d
Ate chicken and now was well dead.
So the moral we see quite clearly:
This is: God loves the poor,
And if you’ve only got bread and water
Why! he loves you ten times more.
So leave it all to your masters
It’s all for the best in the end
Don’t shout and be stubborn and nasty,
If the boss says bend, YOU BEND!
And the paupers have got a new beadle
Who never gets piss in his clog
Cos the typhoid that did for the old one
Also slayed his incontinent dog.
Smile damn you, smile