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Modern Britain

by Mickey 

Posted: 28 November 2018
Word Count: 205
Summary: I knocked these three out a few weeks ago while feeling a bit cheesed off with modern society (I usually am!) Sorry they're all a bit political again

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Family Life
No more the rocker in the corner,
sepia prints of khakied Dad,
cherished snaps of his beloved
reminding him of what he had.
Then they needed him to feed them
now just when it’s he that needs them
sadly, Dad has had his day.
Sadly, Dad is in the way.
So now they’ve put him into care
“He’ll be better off in there.
Let’s hope he doesn’t last too long
and dies before the money’s gone.
We’re clearing out his bungalow,
take what you want before it goes”
Family life disintegrating
Internet debilitating

Single Mum
Single mother, single dweller,
single lonely life alone.
Deserted by another feller,
only comfort mobile phone.

Both Ends of the Work Market
Deborah has a First in Classics.
Her father doesn’t understand
why Debbie’s waiting Costa tables
and it’s the same across the land.
So proud when Debbie graduated
but now thinks Uni’s overrated
saddled with a hefty loan,
he can’t see Debbie leaving home.
No five-year long apprenticeships
passing-out through tar and feather
I live on Universal Credits
No use wondering if ever
I might see a better time,
I’m tempted just to turn to crime.
Unemployed at twenty-two
there isn’t much else I can do.

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Comments by other Members

James Graham at 20:41 on 28 November 2018  Report this post
Sorry they're all a bit political again

No need to apologise! These look pretty sharp. 'Cheesed off' - that makes two of us. Plus a lot more. Comment to follow soon.


James Graham at 20:35 on 29 November 2018  Report this post
Hello Mike – You’re a master of humorous verse, but here you’ve done serious pieces in much the same style, and they work well. ‘Thought-provoking’ is rather an overused word, sometimes applied to poems that provoke only one thought – 'This is unintelligible'. Not at all so with these.
For me the best of the three is ‘Both Ends of the Work Market’. It was a good idea to put those two unfortunate young people together in one poem: there’s a certain contrast between them, but it’s secondary to what they have in common – through no fault of their own they can’t fulfil their potential. The young unemployed lad reminds me of the recent UN report on poverty and human rights in the UK. Now it’s usually countries like Egypt or Mexico, countries with seriously corrupt governments, mobster-style police, and politicians stashing away personal fortunes, that get damning reports. But this report on the UK states that it’s a ‘social calamity’ and an ‘economic disaster’ that 1.5 million people are living in extreme poverty, i.e. unable to afford basic essentials. The UN finds Britain in breach of four international human rights protocols. That’s one train of thought provoked by this poem.
Your stanza on the unemployed young man ends strongly because it tells the plain truth very succinctly:
I’m tempted just to turn to crime.
Followed by ‘there isn’t much else I can do ‘. Indeed. These young guys don’t do robberies necessarily because they’re bad people, it’s because there seems to be nothing legitimate left open to them.
As for Debbie, her Dad may be right about universities, which have had to cut back like every other institution that ought to be highly valued in our society. One of the consequences – fewer jobs as teachers of subjects like classics. A quirky sort of thought came to me too – that if Debbie could have got a post as lecturer somewhere, maybe your unemployed young man could have waited Costa tables! Not much of a job, but better than nothing and better than getting into crime.
All that thought provoked by just one of these three poems! I’ll just mention the other two briefly, though they provoke too. ‘Single Mum’ is a bit special because it’s so short yet gives us a more than adequate picture of a lonely, desolate life. ‘Family Life’ gets to the point about a kind of greedy selfishness that we find all too often in families. ‘Family values’ have been lost sight of somewhat.
One thing puzzles me a little, and maybe you could explain. What do you mean by ‘Internet debilitating’? I thought it might be about families not talking to each other because they’re all on their tablets or whatever, or playing games, each in his or her cocoon. Is that it? Breakdown of family togetherness?

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