Why workers must work harder

I’ve written before about my huge admiration for Leon Rosselson, but I’m not apologising for mentioning him again. This is one of his poems from the eighties, entitled ‘Why workers must work harder, produce more and ask for less’. Quite.

Female workers in an H. J. Heinz can factory s...

So that the wheels

So that the wheels may continue

So that the wheels may continue to turn

So that the wheels may turn

Hours into ashes, days into dust, seasons into stone.

So that the turners of the wheels may dies of boredom every day, every day,

Until one day they die of boredom.

So that old age pensioners may feats on cardboard sandwiches of cough medicine.

So that our pensioners may be protected against inflation by investments in Cancer Incorporated.

So that the dust may drift.

So that Bernard Levin may lay his moderately well formed turds on the graveyard pages of the Times.

So that children’s heads may be marooned on high-rise traffic islands.

So that we may all join the equal opportunity queues to be tranquillised, barbiturised, amphetamised, hypnotised, exorcised, Lymbolised, expurgated, tabulated, stamped and sedated.

So that the Archbishop of Canterbury may stir the teacup of the soul with the silver spoon of God.

So that the money-lenders may lend money to pay interest on money borrowed from money-lenders to pay interest on money borrowed from money-lenders to pay money-lenders.

So that the dust may rise.

So that we may be free to choose between Tuberculosis International and the British Bronchitis Corporation.

So that a regiment of Redcoats from Butlins may lick our dreams into shape for knock-out competitions.

So that the ears may be filled with the din that the hands produce for the eyes to consume that the heart may wither away.

So that oil slick executives may dine out at Annabel’s.

So that allotments may be transformed into concrete memorials for the dead.

So that our children may dig dust from the earth for the wealthy to bury in vaults.

So that the balance of terror may be maintained.

So that the dust may fall.

So that the meek may inherit the earth because they haven’t the strength to refuse.

So that the lungs may be lined with the dust that kills

So that the blood may be choked with the dust that kills

So that the mind may be fogged with the dust that kills.

So that the dust may kill.

So that we may count the ashes until tomorrow, when, with energy, or after tomorrow, with determination, or after after tomorrow with a great national effort, or some time in the dust to come, when the stone is ripe, or children, or their children, or their children’s children, or their children’s children’s children may – if the dust – know what it is – if the dust doesn’t – to be – if the dust doesn’t get them – Happy.

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