Big-time Bill


Give a rousing cheer for Big-time Bill;
he’s never shirked his duties and he swears he never will.
Every day of his life, at a quarter to four
he puts on his shoes and goes out the front door
He strolls down the street at a gentle pace
“No-one ever got there quicker by makin’ it a race.”

At half-past five the clock is in view
and he quickens just a little, his important job to do.
At twenty past six he’s by the clock on the square
puffing just a little; it’s a long way there
and he’s not as young as he used to be
“I can’t unnerstan’ what’s happ’nin’ to me”

he unlocks the door and he proudly steps through
to carry out the job that he loves to do
Now he winds the clock in the regular way
thinking that today is a normal day
he leaves the tower and he locks the door
“This is the job that I was born for”

He thinks that the town depends upon him
to keep the mechanism accurate and trim
He doesn’t know that in 1965
the town’s mighty clock was electronicised
The council retained him out of love and pity
a thing that wouldn’t happen in a larger city

On the way home there’s a pain in his ticker
He sits on the verge but he only feels sicker
His heart is failing and there’s terror in his head
soon pretty soon poor Big-time Bill is dead
In a sad reflection of the town’s kindly crime
Big-time Bill has run out of time

©Jane Paterson Basil


7 thoughts on “Big-time Bill

        1. Was it? I sometimes feel sorry for all of those fictional characters who fly out of writers heads onto the blogosphere, have five minutes of minor celebrity and are then forgotten, as new characters pile up on top of them. Big-Time Bill was a working-class hero. He did that job, day in, day out, because he thought his job was vital to the community. He died carrying out that job, but by next week I’ll probably have forgotten all about him.
          Eurika! I’ve just realised this is really about my friend Laurie…

          Liked by 1 person

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