McKeown and I
We built sandcastles – McKeown and I
A summer holiday, a cloudless sky
They had turrets, towers and battlements
A world away from our tenements
Of filth and rats and pawnshop rents
And no green place to play
They had flags that fluttered high and white
A moat and drawbridge for white knight
We watched them there with child’s delight
Till the tide washed them away.
We’re men of straw
We’re men of sand
Our castles crumbled never meant to stand
We’re two born losers, sure to fail ere we’d begun
We’re snowmen built for melting in the sun.
We built a scarecrow, McKeown and I
One wild September day, a troubled sky
On the farm in the reformatory we built him tall as he could be
Stuffed with straw from chest to knee
A hat without a crown.
Tall as the dads we’d never known
A priest’s old coat around him thrown
A Borstal king but ours alone
Till the east wind blew him down.
We built a snowman, McKeown and I
One bleak December day, a bitter sky
In the prison yard where the convicts go
Outside our cell upon “B” row
We built him of the purest snow
Like two small boys at play.
White as the judge who last year said
Rot in the cell until you’re dead
Black coals for eyes we watched in dread
As the sun burned him away.
Chorus and repeat last line.