Phossy Jaw

she met us 
we told her
she met us
it was at the gate
bold we were
Annie Besant 
Annie Besant

tell them then
you can get it
and your hair falls out
and the side of your face goes green
and your jaw goes black
the pus
he pus and the rattle of death

 we’re not signing 
Annie and Eleanor
not signing
Bryant wants us to sign
saying its all right here
but it ain’t and so he’s sacked us

oh and the commotion 
Eleanor Marx a right commotion
out in Bow
up and down the streets
and the strike fund
and our Union Annie Besant
a bloody Union

 I am speaking this afternoon not only as a Trade Unionist, but as a Socialist. Socialists believe that the eight hours’ day is the first and most immediate step to be taken, and we aim at a time when there will no longer be one class supporting two others, but the unemployed both at the top and at the bottom of society will be got rid of. Eleanor Marx Hyde Park May Day 1890

and right good she was
she met us
she listened
don’t know if you call it slaves
white slaves she wrote
they have abolished slaves
but it feels the same for his shilling
us from the fenian barracks
fenian barracks

and it’s the phosphorous
what lights the match
you get a whole tray go up
and lose your money
and you sweep your floor or lose it
fined for 4 matches on your bench
and late
you don’t get a day
but you pay your rent
and bread and butter
tell ‘em your special day
with jam
jam and jammy jam
jammy days
you laughing

and Bryant sees to his shareholders
tell them about his statue
he took a shilling
our wages
he took a shilling
and a holiday with no pay
no pay holiday
our shilling
for Gladstone’s statue
in his park
and we took bricks for Bryants head
we laughed
we bloody laughed
we bloody laughed
Mr Bryant and May
but we won
and they can’t fine us our wages
and the girls coming back
back from Kent hopping
they joined the Union

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