Speaking for myself, I simply can’t understand
why those of us who earn perhaps more than the average
should have to supply the weak, the indigent and the feckless
with what our over-concerned state chooses to call benefits.
In a market economy the fittest survive, and those who don’t
should thank their lucky stars people like us are there
to show them the way. It’s all about effort, pulling yourself up
by your own bootstraps, having the gumption to get up and go.
I’m not about to give handouts to anyone who can’t make it –
won’t, more like. I don’t depend on the NHS to look after me
or the council to house me, don’t whinge about paying for
my mother’s nursing home, my son’s schooling, my daughter’s
university. This is a free society, so you should have the choice
to have a home or not, to eat or not, to let your teeth rot
and your hips seize up. Don’t come to me for pity. My taxes
have to pay for the defence of this country, the protection
of those of us whose rights most need protecting, those
who with our enterprise have made this nation what it is,
not those who soil our streets with snivelling and begging
or talk about their entitlement to help. If they want jobs
they can come and work for me, be grateful for what I pay –
never mind the minimum wage, start to realise how fortunate
they are to be alive at all. When my great-grandpa went
into the workhouse there were no bleeding hearts for him.
He died there in the end. Bit of a shame, you could say.
Elaine Taylor hasbeen interested in writing for many years and writes both poetry and prose. In 2011 she completed the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, working mainly on a novel. She has had poems accepted for publication in The Broadsheet and The Journal and her blog address is http://www.thebelatedwriter.wordpress.com.
First they are assembled
of everything extraneous
packed tight as components
in their designated place.
The technology is simple:
a few pipes, a stopcock
a door with a good seal
operatives to make sure
there is a neat fit.
It doesn’t take long.
The agent works
with maximum efficiency.
After a waiting period
the waste is cleared away.
Before you came, what we knew were olive trees,
mules scuffling through dust, sweet smoke
of cooking and tobacco, old men polishing
memories generations long. The church bell clanged
the regularity of our life; the language of our land
had not been wrested from us.
You were the refugees, returning to the home
you mourned each year with brine and bitter herbs,
digging through stones, watering your new life
as it grew into our soil. At the beginning it almost seemed
we could have lived together. Semite was not a word
you applied only to yourselves.
Our land became your right. We gagged on smoke
from burning fields, watched our olives fall
ungathered from the trees as our compliant mules
bore us away from the houses you had stolen.
Church bells hung mute; the old men’s stories
were uprooted from the land. The language we heard
was like ours but not ours.
Now you have caged us in like animals, denying us
even the right to anger. Only you claim persecution,
the gaping crater of wrongs too terrible to imagine
always in your vision, blinding you to the sight
of your own cruelties. All that you’ve taken from us
you wear for your own adornment, thinking we can’t see
the stains of blood and ashes.
Elaine Taylor has been interested in writing for many years and writes both poetry and prose. In 2011 she completed the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, working mainly on a novel. She has had poems accepted for publication in The Broadsheet and The Journal and her blog address is http://www.thebelatedwriter.wordpress.com.