The subject of the following poem is inequality, and how it is all too easy for us to forget about it. The poem is my contribution to Blog Action Day for Inequality; #BAD2014.
A report I saw; Channel Four, on TV.
The plight of a poor Afghan family.
Three young boys, working, all day, every day.
No chance, for them, of school, or play.
They’re woken at dawn; eyes heavy with sleep.
They stagger outside; start herding their sheep.
One of the boys barely ten years old.
No food to warm them, in the searing cold.
Off they go; an unending day’s work.
No feigning of sickness, no chance to shirk.
They scavenge through rubbish; live on their wits.
In huge piles of refuse; infernal pits.
Unceasing labour; a fourteen-hour day.
At the end, they get a mere pittance for pay.
Then, “home”, to their barn; breath billowing in the cold.
Meagre food for the family; the young and the old.
If Wordsworth were witness to their fourteen hours;
new meaning to “… how they lay waste their powers”.*
I watch, am moved. It’s all so unfair!
For a few, fleeting moments, I really do care.
The economic structure of the world is rotten …
But, mere minutes later, it is all forgotten.
A thriller soon grips me; its twists, its chills.
No space in my mind for Afghan wars and their ills.
Like a Nazi camp Commandant, supervising slaughter,
then returning home, to his wife and daughter.
I choose to forget; to avert my gaze.
To subsume my worries in a comforting haze.
* William Wordsworth, Sonnet: “The World is Too Much With Us”.