Stealing Coal

Her uncle did two years in jail

For something he didn’t do

He confessed to stealing coal

As poverty makes you do

His brother was the culprit

But he was invalid

Back from the war

And lost a leg

A shattered man

A human wreck

He’d never last a day inside

And so a family conference

And his brother took the rap

That’s what I call virtue

Heroism in fact


Nobody cares about the poor

We all fend for ourselves

Authorities aren’t bothered

They just apply the law

Sign up for the war

Go and do your bit

Lose a leg ah shame

That’s the hell of it

Back at home and steal some coal

Trying to keep warm

Bobby will come and nab you now

Really where’s the harm?


Hilary cried remembering

This story from the past

How an uncle did the time

And the way life’s cast

The world is tilted towards the rich

And they in comfort lie

And the poor are always with us

So keep an open eye


Brian Fahy

25 September 2022


+The gospel today is Jesus’ story of Dives and Lazarus, the rich man and the poor man at his door. Hilary Mantel told a story of her uncles, how one of them came back from the war a totally shattered man. He stole coal but if the authorities put him in jail he would never have survived. His brother took the rap to save him. Poor people are easily convicted. The rich often buy their way out of trouble.

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