Political poems for a imagining a better world

We are pleased to published further poems by David McKinstry and David Bleiman.

Cult of Career
By David McKinstry

Have we paid too dear
For the cult of career?
Are opportunities past
For new friends and
Wider horizons to caste?

Are we too worn
To change our way?
Must we dole out
Our dull day?

Can we imagine
Another route,
Missing brief case
And business suit?

Is there another way
To mark our day,
Other than
Work for meagre pay?

Retail Town
By David McKinstry

Everything has a price,
In retail town
And with time,
All products marked down.

In casino capitalism
Take your chance
As you roll the dice,
And everyone has
A cash out price

A price they have
Is the price you pay,
Lying down with dogs
You will scratch
And rue the day.

Fruit of the magic money tree
By David Bleiman

In that golden time
we tasted fruit of many trees
and were content
to hold with stories sold and told
and never knew
we were butt naked.

There came a tougher time
when teachers borrowed chalk
and parents lay in corridors
of wards which had no beds‒
our leaders said
there was no magic money tree.

There was one tree in the garden
whose fruit we weren’t allowed to taste,
whose apple was, for reasons known,
according to eternal laws,
austerity and common sense,
a strange, forbidden fruit.

We hacked and burned the trees
to plant cash crops, raise cattle,
there came a flood,
then foot and mouth,
eruptions blocked the sky,
the garden turned to dust.

A pestilence blew in,
avoid your neighbour, love yourself,
we queued for toilet rolls,
blew kisses, clapped our hands,
the oxygen ran out,
the garden centres closed.

There was no work and,
Eden on the brink,
our leaders found a secret grove
in which survived a magic money tree
and spread its green and papery fruit
around a fearful land.

Unfold and hold its leaves to hide
our shame at how we lived,
regret the lies we long believed,
for we have got its taste now
and when a serpent whispers in your ear,
it may be time to try the fruit of knowledge.

David Bleiman is a retired union official, author of ‘This Kilt of Many Colours’ (2021, Dempsey and Windle – which was reviewed in Scottish Left Review, issue 124) and ‘Gathering Light: A Cramond Causeway’ (2022).