Poem 23 – Occupy

The bright tents crowd the sombre street,
As early in the morning grey-suited men pour in,
Glancing at the intruders – perhaps there’s a hint of fear –
And some then look away, turn to their colleagues and sneer;

“They know nothing, not compared to us,
We are masters of the fiscal, gods of our realm.
‘Occupy’ they cry, following their herd’s call
But we deserve our rewards for taking prosperity’s helm.
Why should I help those who have not worked as hard as I?
If they grow sick it is their fault, though of course it’s unfortunate they die.
The system rewards those who struggle within it –
Then you can take your prize, but they’re too weak to survive as the fit.
The cretins can’t understand that – nothing should change.”

They file into offices, a mass of charcoal people,
And a protester shouts out to the crowd,
He holds a crude banner – ‘I am the 99%’,
And speaks for the majority, or is at least the most loud.

“Greedy monsters! Thieves of bread!
They’ve taken their share – off with their heads!
It’s 99 to 1, the people tell the truth!
Don’t say your work was legal – denial is just proof!
You’re wrong, you bankers, wrong wrong wrong!”
And he chants his protestor’s song, demanding total change.

As he sits in his chair Andrew glances below,
For he’d never asked to cause all this pain.
He checks his emails – work, family and charity –
Before going to work, and thinking once again;

“We were wrong to do what we did,
But we were flying so high we never noticed the sun,
And by the time we were falling, hell had begun.
It was out of control, out of our hands.
But the guilt’s not just ours, it goes beyond these plaster walls,
Beyond merely banks – it is down to us all,
And until they accept that, nothing can change.”

As people rise from their tents, leaflets get handed to passers-by,
And kindly men and women explain what they say,
A stranger pauses, and Alex runs over,
He tells them the truth, lest bitter rumours fly.

“We believe that the wealthiest were too eager to consume,
Taking their share, then more than they’d earned,
This used not to matter when there was enough to go around,
But now children are starving, so they must change before we’ll give up our ground.
They must accept the duty they hold to the members of their race,
And bringing change is the only way that they can save moral face.”

Watching the divide of the glass and the canvas sea,
A tiny child in red clothes gazes on.
She watches the divide, hears the shouting and the noise,
And the way that the besuited men pass without a word.

“But why don’t they talk, since both want change?”
Her mother bends down, and says they’re ‘estranged’.
“Why don’t they talk, rather then shouting at them to go?
Why don’t they sort it out like grown-ups always do?”

Thus thought the child, but of the answers, no-one knows,
But both say the time for dialogue is through
And until that changes, nothing else can change.

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