I heard a performance artist sing this song at an event once. It wasn’t a great performance but the song really stuck with me. It’s a good story.
Stitch in Time
Oh there was a woman and she lived on her own,
She slaved on her own and she skivvied on her own,
She’d two little girls and two little boys—
And she lived all alone with her husband.
For her husband he was a hunk of a man
A chunk of a man and a drunk of a man,
He was a hunk of a drunk and a skunk of a man
Such a boozing, bruising husband.
For he would come home drunk each night,
He thrashed her black, he thrashed her white;
He thrashed her, too, within an inch of her life,
Then he slept like a log, did her husband.
One night she gathered her tears all round her shame
She thought of the bruising and cried with the pain,
Oh, you’ll not do that ever again,
I won’t live with a drunken husband.
But as he lay and snored in bed,
A strange old thought came into her head,
She went for the needle, went for the thread,
And went straight in to her sleeping husband.
And she started to stitch with a girlish thrill
With a woman’s heart and a seamstress’ skill,
She bibbed and tucked with an iron will,
All around her sleeping husband.
Oh, the top sheet, the bottom sheet, too,
The blanket stitched to the mattress through,
She stitched and stitched for the whole night through
Then she waited for the dawn and her husband.
And when her husband woke with a pain in his head,
He found that he could not move in bed,
Sweet Christ, I’ve lost the use of me legs!
But this wife just smiled at her husband.
For in her hand she held the frying pan
With a flutter in her heart she given him a lam;
He could not move but he cried, ``God damn!’‘
``Don’t you swear,’’ she cried to her husband.
Then she thrashed him black, she thrashed him blue,
With the frying pan and the colander too,
With the rolling pin just a stroke or two
Such a battered and bleeding husband.
She said, ``If you ever come home drunk any more,
I’ll stitch you in, I’ll thrash you more,
Then I’ll pack my bag and I’ll be out the door,
I’ll not live with a drunken husband.’‘
So isn’t it true what small can do
With a thread and a thought and a stitch or two?
He’s wiped his slate and his boozing’s through
It’s goodbye to a drunken husband.
Words & Music by Mike Waterson
recorded by Mike Waterson, Martin Carthy, Max Hole