‘What If My Pockets Were Empty?’ triggered lately one of the most flattering and also thought-provoking comments by Dr Lynne Jones, OBE who said: “It’s up there with Streets of London!” Inspired by a walk through Birmingham just before the pandemic started and underlined by a statement made by Shelter “Almost three million people in England are one pay cheque away from losing their homes” (Shelter, September 2019), it seems to hit the issue head-on.

Photo: David Hiney, Design: Joolz Design, Recording: Paul Walker

Lyrics

What If My Pockets Were Empty?

What if my pockets were empty
Verse 1:
A cup that cries for mercy, or a glass that calls for wine
There but for good fortune, down that slippery road go I
Many words are spoken, too few deeds are done
For those whose lives are broken
And what their hopeless world’s become

Chorus:
What if my pockets were empty
And no more could I hold my head high?
Could I still claim a seat at your table
Would I still be that glint in your eye?
And what if the words that define me
Could no longer be spoken with pride
What if my pockets were empty
Would I still have you here by my side

Bridge:
Is it true what people say that we’re all just one payday away?

Verse 2:
So come and walk beside me, past the doorways of our town
Past the eyes that ask “so why me,
Why must I bear this cross & thorny crown”?
If your life changed tomorrow, if your ship just turned around
Too proud to beg or borrow
Too scared to face the cold, cold ground

Chorus:
What if my pockets were empty
And no more could I hold my head high?
Could I still claim a seat at your table
Would I still be that glint in your eye?
And what if the words that define me
Could no longer be spoken with pride
What if my pockets were empty
Would I still have you here by my side