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Israelites
by Desmond Dekker

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me Israelites Aah

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me Israelite

My wife and my kids, they packed up and leave me
Darling, she said, I was yours to be seen
Poor me Israelite

Shirt them a-tear up, trousers is gone
I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde
Poor me Israelite

After a storm there must be a calm
They catch me in the farm
You sound your alarm
Poor a-poor a-poor me Israelite

I said I get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me Israelite Aah

I said my wife and my kids, they are packed up and leave me
Darling, she said, I was yours to be seen
Poor me Israelites Aah

Look Me shirts them a-tear up, trousers are gone
I don't want to end up like Bonnie and Clyde
A-poor a-poor me Israelites Aah

After a storm there must be a calm
They catch me in the farm
You sound your alarm
Poor me Israelite
A-poor a-poor a-poor me Israelites Aah

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group,
Written by: DESMOND DEKKER

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on specific lyrics, highlight them
Comments from YouTube:

mistery-ed

I've misunderstood about half of the lyrics for 50 years!

Jason Hendry

Glad Im not the only one, I been taken my own spin on this classic for yonks 😂😂

Ambie Jones

Did anyone arguing on this thread mention that if you obtain a map of Africa from 1740’s and find where the slave coast is, you will see the name of that area at the time and thus will no longer be able to deny that the people who call themselves Jews, are not it.

whoop DeHoop

Me ears are alight.

makariln

@Zera Marks This is all real about Jewish history. However, that is not what the song is about. I grew up in Jamaica. The main religion there is Abrahamic (Christianity) and many people grew up on stories about the suffering of the Israelites. In the 60's it was common to use the phrase "poor mi israelites" in reference to going through a really hard time. The things Dekker talks about - holes in your shirt (shirt dem a tear up), pants almost falling off (trousers a go), are all common struggles faced by poor Jamaicans at the time (and today). The song is about suffering in life, and uses a common phrase of the day "Poor mi Israelites" to bring it all together. The song references Jamaican experiences, but there is a universality there that is relatable in many cultures. This is just another one of those cases where translating something word for word without the cultural context can lead to misinterpretation. Source: Growing up in Jamaica, and my mother, who always thought the misunderstanding about this song was curious, and explained this to me when we would sing old songs together.

Stephen Potts

Me too! 😅

151 More Replies...

Daniel Elston

I can relate to this song after going to a food bank this week. Lovely people, non judgemental. I'm a roofer and anyone can get down on their luck.

Seth Glautier

anonUK shut up I don’t care about you or you’re attempts to ruin everybody’s vibe honestly I share the same opinion of whoever does what’s best for us all but Jesus just shut up this is not the place to be talking smack about politics wanna do that go be an MP and squabble with the rabble like the rest here is for good music and good vibes

anonUK

@Seth Glautier
You were a Corbynista I take it?

Seth Glautier

@anonUK shhhhhhhh this comment thread was full of pleasant support and you gotta go a ruin it with BS NOBODY CARES JUST VOTE AND KEEP SHUP

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