Monday, 25 February 2013

O, Cervantes

An earlier but only slightly different version of today’s poem was written in 1972; it appeared in Poetry Monthly (1999) that has since closed down and in All in One Day, Poetry Now (Forward Press) 2001 prior to my first major collection.

Since the 1970s, pressure of work on the average person has at least doubled; fewer staff and the common misconception by (too many) managers that just about anyone can be replaced by a computer has been a major contributory factor. Only ten years earlier, my teachers at school had been telling us how wonderful the 1980s would be once machines were doing the lion’s share of the work we were paid full-time wages for part-time hours. [Whatever happened to the Golden Age of Leisure we were promised?]

Oh, but show me a windmill!


One commuter rises
at seven, has to run for the train
at eight after ritual peck
on doorstep, and warning the kids
not to be late for school

Arrives for work wearily,
re-sorts any post meticulously,
checks with a secretary
about what’s worth knowing
on the grapevine

Another day done,
breaks for tea well-deserved,
our hero heads home,
packed like a helpless veal calf
on the continental run

Turns a brassy yale
at about half-six most days,
picking at supper
by seven ten, sends screaming kids
to do their homework

Starts to tell the wife
about his own work, and then...
(Damn, the mobile again!)
A smoke, glass of red, some soap TV,
(pity about the ulcer, scary.)

No outstanding bills, and never
a thing about windmills

Copyright R. N. Taber 1999; 2011

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appeared in 1st eds. of Love And Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; revied ed. in e-format in preparation.]

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