Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weevils in the Flour




Words: Dorothy Hewett
Tune: Mark Leydon (1965)





On an island in a river
How that bitter river ran
I grew on scraps of charity
In the best way that you can
On an island in a river
Where I grew to be a man.

Chorus:
For dole bread is bitter bread
Bitter bread and sour.
There's grief in the taste of it
There's weevils in the flour
There's weevils in the flour.

And just across the river
Stood the mighty BHP.
Poured pollution on the water
All the lead of misery
And its smoke was black as hades
Rolling hungry to the sea.
In those humpies by the river
We lived on dole and stew
While just across the water
Those greedy smokestacks grew
And the hunger of the many
Filled the bellies of the few.

On an island in a river
How that bitter river ran
It broke the banks of charity
And baked the bread of man
On that island in a river
Where I grew to be a man.

For dole bread is bitter bread
There's weevils in the flour
But men grow strong as iron upon
That black bread and sour.



I first heard this song being sung by Phil Brown at the New Exchange Hotel in Brisbane in around 1982.

2 comments:

  1. We don't hear much about 'black bread' in the history of white Australia. It tends to be more of a European food, doesn't it. Am I being too literal, though? Is this a metaphor, perhaps? Even so, the metaphor wouldn't work if people weren't familiar with black bread. So why is the bread black?

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