Sunday, 16 March 2014

Bitter Harvest

In reality, there is no such thing as easy money. Even a huge lottery win is rarely roses all the way and more often than not leaves a trail of heartbreak. Someone recently mentioned that betting is easy money (he had just won £50 on a horse.) Ah, but how many bets had he lost over years, I wondered? Even so, I resisted the temptation to ask and risk throwing cold water on an old man’s elation.

Many years ago, during a period of mental illness, I became addicted to fruit machines and probably wasted thousands of pounds over a period of several years. Fortunately, I am cured now and have a life. Gambling is no less addictive than drugs, smoking or alcohol. It can destroy people and their families. At the time, I was caught up in the protracted aftermath of a nervous breakdown. That’s when addiction strikes, when we’re at our most vulnerable. It can happen to anyone. So never give up on an addict, yeah? The challenge is trying to prevent addicts giving up on themselves.

It is an appalling indictment on contemporary society, especially given the stresses and strains of modern living, that there are relatively few rehabilitation centres or other avenues of help for addicts or those less obviously in the grip of mental illness. They may be the last to admit, it but they need friends and family to stand by them and be willing to go that last mile.

If you know an addict (drugs, gambling, whatever) please, please, be there for them. You won’t get much if anything by way of thanks, but no one can beat addiction without support from someone who cares that they should. Sometimes, yes, it’s a losing battle for everyone concerned, but we have to try…for all our sakes.

Did I say it was easy?

Ah but there’s ‘easy’ money for the taking if we play our cards right?  No, I don’t think so.


Public faces reaping
of more respect than many
have earned the right
to expect in modern times;
paper tigers wandering
corridors of power, seeking
an easy prey, a nose
for more; bits and pieces,
(when put together)
likely to create an incomplete

People come and go,
all history in the making,
fortunes for the taking;
winners, losers,
gamblers paying respects
to palaces of pleasure,
Stock Exchanges,
After Hours bars ringing
with a cacophony
of celebration, despair,

Worldwide, trails
like snails’ slime tracking
the best and worst
of us, no discrimination;
looking to the future,
(things sure to get better)
Family of Man living
up to old myths, bearing
fruits to feed a world 
last observed harvesting 
lemon trees

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2014

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears in 1st eds. of The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004; 2nd (revised) e-edition in preparation.]

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