Tramp The Dirt Down Lyrics

by Elvis Costello

I saw a newspaper picture
From the political campaign
A woman was kissin' a child
Who was obviously in pain

She spills with compassion
As that young child's face in her hands she grips
Can you imagine all that greed
And avarice coming down on that child's lips?

Well I hope I don't die too soon
I pray the Lord my soul to save
Yes, I'll be a good boy
I'm trying so hard to behave

Because there's one thing I know
I'd like to live long enough to savour

That's when they finally put you in the ground
I'll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down

When England was the whore of the world
Margaret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear
As the black tarmacadam

Well I hope that she sleeps well at night
Isn't haunted by every tiny detail
'Cos when she held that lovely face in her hands
All she thought of was betrayal

And now the cynical ones
Say that it all ends the same in the long run
Try telling that to the desperate father
Who just squeezed the life from his only son

And how it's only voices in your head
And dreams you never dreamt
Try telling him the subtle difference
Between justice and contempt

Try telling me she isn't angry
With this pitiful discontent
When they flaunt it in your face
As you line up for punishment

And then expect you to say "Thank you"
Straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you've only got the symptoms
You haven't got the whole disease

Just like a schoolboy, whose head's like a tin-can
Filled up with dreams then poured down the drain
Try telling that to the boys on both sides
Being blown to bits or beaten and maimed

Who takes all the glory and none of the shame

Well I hope you live long now
I pray the lord your soul to keep
I think I'll be going before
We fold our arms and start to weep

I never thought for a moment
That human life could be so cheap

'Cos when they finally put you in the ground
They'll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down