Saturday, 24 May 2014

Getting it Wrong


I often look at contemporary UK society and don’t like what I see; more litter louts; more people strung out across pavements so other cannot pass; more folks on the MP3 players or mobile phones who have no awareness of their immediate surroundings and expect everyone else to get out of their way; more elderly people having to stand on crowded trains and buses where the majority of those sitting down are under thirty-five; even more occasions when it’s a case of first in the bus queue and last (if at all) to get on the bus…the list is endless.

My first boss at a public library where I worked after leaving school (in 1964) told me that a public library is a microcosm of society. It is so true. You meet all types in libraries. As many if not most public library services in parts of the UK have gone into freefall so, too, has society. Good manners, for a start, seem to have flown out of the proverbial window. Few people say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ any more, but take any services rendered, even everyday acts of kindness for granted. On the streets of London, the majority push, shove, everyone for themselves without as much as an ‘Excuse me please’ or a ‘Sorry, I pushed you into the road or against a wall. If you complain, the chances are you will be verbally or even physically abused. The last time I shouted at a cyclist riding on a busy pavement who sent me sprawling as I came out of a shop…I was told, ‘F***k off, you old fart!’ Needless to say, I continue to protest.

Thankfully, there are many exceptions; if we look hard enough, we will see the bigger picture, and find some lovely people out there…

GETTING IT WRONG

Bus stops, anarchy;
assault-by-default on mad,
rush hour trains

Death on our roads,
date rape in bars, gun law
on angry streets

Disabled access
in key places leaving  much 
to be desired

Perverts coasting;
hypocrites anxiously taking
Communion

Minority groups,
milking political correctness
for all its worth

Human rights,
where the machinery of justice
badly need oiling

Imagination, 
getting the better of worsening 
world scenarios

Copyright R. N. Taber 2005; 2018

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appeared under the title 'All the Wrong Pieces' in an anthology Upon Reflection, Poetry Now (Forward Press), 2004 and in  A Feeling for the Quickness of  Time by R. N. Taber  (2005)]

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