Trade Burdens

Put your shoes to one side,
Turn around
Open your eyes
Then remove the blindfold
Really open them
What can you see?
Is it a pretty picture
One you would hang
On a bedroom wall
To gaze upon
Each broken dawn
Or one you would bury
Deep in an album
Kept in a box
Under the bed
Dusty with disuse
Only to see the light
When grandkids visit
At some idyllic future time
Of tolerance and teaching
That is yet to come
And may never happen?
Truth be told
It doesn’t matter.
Whatever your vantage point
Gender, skin tone, genetics,
You see things
As you see yourself
And feel excluded
From any grouping
You view as ‘other’.
This is life
(Or something like it)
Your experience
Will not match
That of those ‘others’
Nor theirs, yours.
We are all different
And empathy is not
Experience.
That certain knowledge
Of the unknown,
The unknowable
Could be our strength
But differences also
Divide us
One from the ‘other’.
Those who would understand
Take it further
Try to get closer
To forbidden wisdom
Fail in their attempt
For alas!
We cannot truly
Experience ‘otherness’.
Plato’s cave all over again
Nothing but shadows
Elusive and unfeeling.
We are not all filled
With benign curiosity
Hardly surprising.
For those whose world view
Does not admit equality
It only ends in tears,
Accusations,
Mimicry, farce,
Inappropriate
Cultural appropriation
Labels, stereotypes,
Profiling.
So what do we make of it
This unfathomable ‘otherness’?
Racism, misogyny, xenophobia
Fear of the unknown
Misunderstanding
Embarrassment and even
Murderous hatred.
The persistent among us
Keep picking at scabs
So old wounds fester
To the point of eruption
Irritated by irrational isolationists
Lodestone
To the bitter iron
Of bad blood
Drawing down ire like
Hera in her lousy marriage
Choreographed blame
Detracting from the culpable
To the scapegoat.
Bringing forth bolts
Of heavenly fire
Raining misery
Down upon us
All mere mortals
And still we stand divided
Our own ugliness comes to the fore
Humans racing
Competing for each burden
Losing face and patience
Fraying, unhappy peace
As we ignore our ignorance
Setting aside compassion
For righteous bigotry
Small-minded acts of defiance
Banner waving, street fighting.
Fail Army?
Too bloody right!

 

The Parent Trap

I listen to your questions, child
And try to tell no lies
For who could bear the fall to Earth
Reflected in those eyes?
Though often you may wonder
At every slightest thing
I strive to keep my temper –
Mind to fill and heart to win.
I do but ask one favour –
A little one I crave:
Just while I am explaining,
That you sit still, and behave.
I don’t begrudge you answers
It’s not to make you blue,
But mummy needs to concentrate
So what she says is true.

Allegory

A mother hen – yet not a mum,
Took ducklings travelling for fun,
A day away she did devise,
And all the trip did organize,
‘We’ll go abroad’, she crowed, ‘Wahey!’
‘And later on, we’ll see a play…’
So fix’d was she upon this path
Her charges scarce did dare to laugh
At bawdy farce that after pud’
Turn’d out, Alas! to be no good.
In truth it was a sad affair,
A musical, with no tune there,
A play without a bit of fun,
But laboured jokes and scaffold’s hum.
The little ducks could scarce contain
Their disappointment at this shame
And thereof, loudly, did complain.
To which, the hen repayed in coin
And long and loud did scold and scorn
The ducks for having dared express
Opinions they ought not possess.