Pity the Poor Immigrant

Bob Dylan (to an older air)

I pity the poor immigrant who wishes he’d stayed at home
Uses all his power to do evil, in the end is always left so alone
That man who with his fingers cheats who lies with every breath
Who passionately hates his life and likewise fears his death
I pity the poor immigrant whose strength is spent in vain
Whose heaven is like ironsides, and whose tears are like the rain
Who eats but is not satisfied, who hears but does not see
Who falls in love with wealth itself and turns his back on me
I pity the poor immigrant who tramples through the mud
Who fills his mouth with laughing and who builds his town with blood
Whose vision in the final end must shatter like a glass
I pity the poor immigrant when his gladness comes to pass

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I recorded this previously with Planxty in 1982. I feel more at ease 40 years on. I love the abstract nature of these three verses. My favourite song from the song and dance man. Singing it has knocked me sideways betimes. One night in London, out of the blue, the emotion caught me. I choked up. Liam O’Flynn recognised my predicament. He took up the melody and carried it away. I dedicate this version to the memory of my late Uncle Jimmy Power of Ardmulchan, Co. Meath.