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The Testimony Of Patience Kershaw (The Unthanks)

It's good of you to ask me sir to tell you how I spend my day Well in the coal black tunnel sir I hurry coves to earn my pay The coves are full of coal kind sir I push them with my hands and head It isn't ladylike but sir you've got to earn you daily bread I push them with my hands and head and so my hair gets worn away you see this baldy patch I've got it shames me like I just can't say A lady's hands are lily white but mine are full of cuts and segs(?) and since I'm pushing all the time I've great big muscles on my legs I try to be respectable But sir, the shame, god save my soul I work with naked sweating men who curse and swear and chew the coal The sight, the smell, the sound kind sir not even god and sense me shame I say my prayers but what's the use tomorrow will be just the same Now sometimes sir I don't feel well my stomach's sick, my head it aches I've got to hurry best I can my knees feel weak, my back near breaks and then I'm slow and then I'm scared these naked men will batter me they can't be blamed, for if I'm slow their families will starve you see All the lads they laugh at me and so the mirror tells me why pale and dirty, can't look nice it doesn't matter how I try Great big muscles on my legs Baldy patch upon my head Lady, sir, oh no not me I should've been a boy instead I praise you good intentions sir I love you kind and gentle heart but now it's 1842 and you and me we're miles apart 100 years or more will pass before we're walking side by side but please accept my grateful thanks god bless you sir, at least you tried