They call us navigators
As we work all over this land
We’re not Micks, Paddies or taaters
So why can’t you all understand.
True some of us here are Irish
We’re English, Welsh and Scottish too.
So call us the name we’re proud of
As we dig these big ditches for you.
Don’t call us godless heathens
We work as our masters insist.
Working from Monday to Sunday
Following orders we cannot resist.
Don’t call us rough drunken scoundrels
Just because we drink so much ale.
Replenishing the moisture we’ve sweated
To ensure our bodies don’t fail.
Don’t call us ignorant peasants
Our work can demand great skill.
For careless and shoddy working
Is the cause of the mishaps that kill.
So please call us navigators
Or Navvies if you really must.
For we are helping our great nation
To build transportation you can trust.
Written in March 2016 for a presentation on canals to be given on 26th March 2016.