In tweeds and furs and pearls and curls,
The rows and rows of lovely girls
Are strolling arm-in-arm to school
To find their niche; to earn, to rule!
In baseball shirts and well-worn shoes
The jean-clad, beltless, feckless youths
Go slouching to the DSS
To bail them out of worklessness.
The worker-bee that scurries fast
Avoiding trollies, hastens past
While pensioners crowd tiny shops
And squeeze the fruit and veg to slops.
The mothers juggle work and kids
And pets that piddle, nibble; fibs
From all of those who claimed that life
Would soon improve as someone’s wife.
Where blokes stay home and watch the box;
Dads clean their cars, and wear odd socks,
Mere gentlemen frequent the gym,
The pubs and clubs, but rarely in
A frame of mind to brook disdain
Belittle those who’d challenge claim
To right of birth: Y chromosome –
All call the world their very own.
Stroll down any dusty thoroughfare
From Maida Vale to scruffy Shepherd’s Bush
They’ll ambush you on pavement then and there
Relieve you of your digits, prod and push.
Foot soldiers, armed with clipboards and ambition
Will tug at strings that tie the heart to purse
Their target: the conversion to commission
Of less-than-living wages as you curse.
The haves that make up half the knotty problem
Are touched for cash by those who live below
Embarrassed by their wealth, some may endure them
While others just ignore them as they go.
With one foot on the ladder of ascension
The other in the bucket of distress
They’ll tell you of the horrors one won’t mention
To try to hold attention and impress.
The passers-by whose means are independent
Whose social conscience privilege must prick
Are rarely found donating rent or pension
Confronted daily, skin must be quite thick.
While those who swallow pride and do the needful
Are debited directly for their pains
Their duty to society a creed. Full
Of charitable empathy and claims.
How many men does it take to deliver
A table and several chairs?
You’d think I was kidding
The joke would seem hidden
The first one just ‘didn’t do’ stairs
With telephones trilling, the second, unwilling
Could not get the top through the door
The third tried to shame me,
And name me, and blame me
For furnishings to the sixth floor
Solution: to dump them on pavement
Just junk them – delivery over and done
Denying they’d tried it
(My boss wouldn’t buy it)
The whole thing becoming a pun
For what good are services that don’t deliver
The minimum bang for your buck?
While companies try
Not to fall for the lie
That the ground floor is somehow the top
Pickle me in kindness
So my praises, sweetly sung
May give fragrant, brief reminders
Of the works these hands have spun
Leave no gentle act unlauded
Let no deed pass as unknown
Thus may toil be fair-rewarded
‘Ere we trundle, meekly home
While you while away the hours
In your elevated chair
Someone else is pushing flowers
To ensure you may stay there
And where you ignore their efforts
Just imagine what could come;
If we all were judged on merits
Would you still be number one?