Shipbuilding

Is it worth it?
A new winter coat and shoes for the wife
And a bicycle on the boy’s birthday.
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town
By the women and children,
Soon we’ll be shipbuilding.

Well, I ask you,
The boy said ‘Dad they’re going to take me to task,
But I’ll be back by Christmas’.
It’s just a rumour that was spread around town.
Somebody said that someone got filled in
For saying that people get killed in
The result of this shipbuilding.

With all the will in the world,
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls.

It’s just a rumour that was spread around town,
A telegram or a picture postcard,
Within weeks they’ll be re-opening the shipyards
And notifying the next of kin
Once again.
It’s all we’re skilled in.
We will be shipbuilding.

With all the will in the world,
Diving for dear life
When we could be diving for pearls.

Elvis Costello and Clive Langer, ‘Shipbuilding’ (1983).

First sung as a single by Robert Wyatt, later sung by Elvis Costello on his album Punch the Clock. The song’s subject is the Falklands War.

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1 Response to Shipbuilding

  1. Pingback: Shipbuilding: diving for pearls - chrisbell.co.nz - wordsSHIFTminds

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