I’m Only an Orphan Lad

I often look back on my childhood
My parents put me away in an orphanage
To me it felt like a cage
They left me feeling angry, sad and alone
I often tried to escape and go home
Bewildered, bitter and cold to the bone
And wondered, if I was good or bad
For I had become an orphan lad

There were times when I would shout and yell
It could be no worse in “hell”
Rudely awakened at every dawn
Still feeling forgotten and forlorn
Told to get dressed and fall into line
To do as I was told and I’d be fine

I would be given many a task to do
Wash that floor, clean that loo
I’d march to the sound of a bell
Then stand back in line, half asleep
Still feeling cold, I’d quietly weep
With a “clip of the ear”, told to get to it
And milk that bloody cow,
I’d tell them, I did not know how

I soon learned to do as I was told
After all I was just an orphan lad
Standing in line, freezing cold
For as yet- no breakfast I had
They knew how to chastise a “self-willed” lad
And no one seemed to care
Answer back I did not dare
I was a sad orphan lad

As time went by I kept a dry eye
At the sound of that bell
I’d run like hell
By learning the ropes
I built up my hopes
Of becoming a smart orphan lad

As soon as I learned that it wasn’t so bad
Being an orphan lad
To be regularly fed
And sleep in a warm bed
Having so many mates
With whom I could relate
They were like brothers to me
They too were orphans like me

As the years passed on by
I shed not a tear from my eye
I was given a task
I would just do it and not ask
With mates all around
It’s not a bad place I’d found
Among those orphan lads

If you asked me today
I’d just have to say
I have no complaints
It was just like living with Saints
I was never alone in there
It was a good home I had
I’d become an orphan lad

For I’m only an orphan lad

Kenny Doyle
Old Boy from 1931 – 1945