Gary Miller Songs

"As a song poet there are few in the world today to match him"
Green Man Review, USA

 

Wooden Dolly

 

Lyrics

From a collier brig's prow taking no food or bed

With unblinking eyes fixed fimly ahead

I coughed and I spluttered in the wake of the spray

Until I was ransomed for a pirate’s pay

Long ago, back in the day


Then they set me to keep constant watch on the Tyne

Gazing across the North Sea for a sign

And they came from their shielings, their saviour to greet

With their pen knives to slice me like a piece of raw meet

From my scalp, through my flanks, to my feet


They took a piece of me here, a piece of me there

A piece from the locks of my long flowing hair

And though my heart was made of wood

I loved them all like a mother should

For they were my flesh and my blood

They were my flesh and my blood


My shoulders gave strength to carry them forth

To safety when storms blew in from the north

My bosom was a pillow on which they could rest

My arms were protection against any test

My lips when kissed would be blessed


But there were some who did not like me

They tortured and raped me, for all to see

They choked me and groped me, tied my hands and feet

And like a piece of dry timber, dragged me through the street

Until my ruin was complete


They took a piece of me here, a piece of me there

A piece from the locks of my long flowing hair

And though my heart was made of wood

I loved them all like a mother should

For they were my flesh and my blood
They were my flesh and my blood


Now I am gone, there’s naught left of me

Just a memory drifting on the breeze o’er the sea

But my younger sisters now stand in my stead

Fishwives burdened with baskets but each with a raised head

In tight bonnets and one in a fine dress of bright red


They took a piece of me here, a piece of me there

A piece from the locks of my long flowing hair 

Hoping for luck on a voyage to cling

Just a splinter, a sliver, a tiny thing

A handful of fortune to bring


A piece of me here, a piece of me there

A piece from the locks of my long flowing hair

And though my heart was made of wood

I loved them all like a mother should

For they were my flesh and my blood
They were my flesh and my blood



(Gary Miller)


© 2018 Whippet Records

Copyright Control MCPS/PRS

 

Notes

Gary wrote 'Wooden Dolly' as a commission for 'The Wooden Dollies of North Shields', a book published by Northern Voices Community Projects to mark marks the 60th anniversary of the unveiling of the wooden dolly in Northumberland Square, North Shields, Tyne & Wear, England, in 2018. Unfortunately, due to an unexpected major personal crisis at the time, and despite the song having already been completed on time, Gary was unable to present it in time to meet the book's publication deadline but it is hoped the song will one day be commercially released in some format, most likely as part of the Northern Grit project.

 
 

Currently Unreleased

Illustration by Helen Temperley © 2021