Tied Hands

I wish I could help
But I can’t, I can’t
I lack the autonomy,
Forced to plant
My feet on the bars
Of this creaking fence
And dole out excuses
Of common sense

Jacob’s Ladder

Poverty is hard to see
While growing up on toast and tea
I barely noticed its effect
We just got on with duties set

By those so practised to command
Unquestioning of task in hand
Until completed, so to bed
To rest our weary hearts and head

Yet catching toes on higher rung
While hearing others’ praises sung
I somehow over trod my groove
And moorings slipped, my mind did move

No longer cowed by sleight of birth
Unbending under weight and girth
I grasped this hook and pulled to see
What might be made with dignity

But not too far the ladder scaled
Before another turned and wailed
Unfairness at disparity
From what expectant they did see

As unbecoming in my stance
Though well-deserving of such chance
They wanted none with conscience there
Though they complained of life, unfair

With unchecked rage did rant and rave
Until they slipped, unseated save
For what was caught upon a nail
Until seams ripped and with a flail

Of arms and legs undignified
The other fell and so, he died
Unsettled, I, to see all eyes
So arid at this man’s surprise

I dared not breathe too long, nor loud
For fear they’d pick me from the crowd
Yet someone noted, by my air
I must have learned somehow to share

Instinctive camaraderie
Betrayed by actions that were ‘me’
Compassion at another’s fate
Too great my mercy, theirs too late

So shoved and pushed to halt my course
I stayed astride the ladder, worse
To know that I was caught, stuck fast
Between those who’d be first and last

In mind and stomach more than sick
To know such wealth might kill me quick
For feeling what they could not taste
Another’s worth and common waste

On Sustainability

The gremlins are back
And they’re kicking up trouble
Destroying the systems
We need to survive

Too small to stay solvent
When things start to crumble
It’s all on my shoulders
The fate of the tribe

I watch as the ringleader’s
Scurrying forward
To see where the holes
In defences may lie

Such old infrastructure
And lack of investment
It’s hardly surprising
We’re going to die

It’s more than a feeling

Magic we find in the strangest of places
sometimes ’tis lacking in belt and in braces
and costs not a sou, but is worth more than gold
for the memories last to the time we are old.
The shyest of all find they grow to a hero
when they hear the call of the sweetheart they seek.
The poor and the humble, the lackey, the zero,
when lover’s in trouble, become less than meek.
And these battles we fight, with the heart not the head
do not rob us of life, but they feed it instead
so we nourish the flame that we carry about
and our torch is a beacon, our song is a shout.
Do not mock at the magical daze you may see
when we walk hand in hand down the street, you and me,
for what some view as weakness, makes me brave and strong,
and do you really dare cry all mankind is wrong?

On knowing one’s limits

It takes a certain type of gent
To know exactly when he’s spent.
A gentilhomme to bow away
From what he’ll not achieve today.
And yet, these men are viewed as weak!
Those with courage ‘nough to speak
When they have found their limit reach’d
Rather than endanger each
Unruffled colleage, they withdraw –
Gallantly – with honour – more!
And wait until they’ve quite recouped
What strength they’d spent to serve their group.
Thus sensible, they fly away
To live to fight another day.