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(learned from Tom Juster in the early 1960s at Teton Tea Party)

(music to go here)

    I am a bum, a jolly old bum, I live like a royal Turk,
    I have good luck when I bum my chuck, I'm a heck of a man at work.
Come all you gentlemen jokers if you want to have some fun,
Listen while I relate the tale of the great American bum.
From North and South and East and West like swarms of bees they come,
They sleep in the dirt and wear a shirt that's dirty and full of crumbs.
    I am a bum, a jolly old bum.....

I make my way from Frisco to the rocks and coasts of Maine,
From Canada to Mexico and all the way back again.
I've met a million people as I wander round the land,
But to stay and live in just one place I never could understand.
    I am a bum, a jolly old bum.....

The other day I met a man I never met before;
He asked me if I wanted a job shovelin' iron ore.
I asked him what the wages was, he said ten cents a ton;
I said to him, Go scratch your neck, I'd rather be on the bum.
    I am a bum, a jolly old bum.....

Early in the morning when the dew is on the ground
The bum arises from his nest and gazes all around.
The cattle cars are loaded, and goin' out west they're tight,
I guess I'll have to ride the passing freight tonight.
    I am a bum, a jolly old bum.....

(from miriam berg's folksong collection)