When the Leaves Come Out/The Ghost Walks

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The Ghost Walks

I wonder if you understand
Why people always say,
"The ghost is walking" when you go
To get your hard-earned pay?
About this thing your "pay," my lads,
I've got a word to say:
'Tis but a "ghost" that flits about
And always flies away.

It's true that with your horny hands
You labor every day,
Yet you get nothing but a "ghost"
To keep the wolf away.
You house the world and clothe the world
And feed the world each day,
Yet you get nothing but a "ghost"
To keep the wolf away.

Your bosses are well-fed and fat,
Their smiles are blithe and gay.
They do not rob you with a gun,—
They have a better way.
They have a better way, my lads,—
They give a "ghost" for pay;
You toil and moil because you must,
They rob because they may.


You see, the boss gives you a "job."
You get so much per day,
But you produce far more, my lads,
Than ever comes your way.
And of this "product of your toil,"
(I'm very sad to say)
You give the "body" to the boss
And keep the "ghost" for "pay".


But should you wish to change all this,
On some bright First of May
Demand your product on the job
The One Big Union way.
That is your rightful pay, my lads,—
The only "honest" pay;
The boss will then become the "ghost"
And soon he'll "walk" away.