On The Benefit Poem by Thomas Golding

On The Benefit

Four years on the dole
Four years in the queue
The shops full of goods I can’t buy
Or bring myself to steal
Not yet at any rate
Even though the children
Point to things on that damn TV.
Which I couldn't bear to part with
For their sake (and mine)
Mary went to the food bank again today
I know she's missing meals
To feed the kids who never stop
They're growing and always hungry
We don't take them to town any more
They ask for everything on display
It's worse than the hard sell on TV.
At least at home we can explain
Why they can't have this or that
They look at us with those eyes
We had so many plans for them.

That young pig in the Labour Office
I'll bet he never missed a meal
Since he left school to fly a desk
He makes me feel it's my entire fault
A job is all I want and a decent home
Not handouts from the righteous
We lost the house three years ago
Mary and the other women get along
When you share with other families
You don't have much choice
If the housing inspectors find out
Some of us will have to leave.

Grandad spoke of times like these
I thought him a stupid old fart
They called it a depression
This is only a recession
According to the politicians
‘And we must all work harder
for an affluent society’.
The self same mouthwash
They gargled with last time
To excuse their failure
No wonder Grandad sounded Commie.
He stayed honest through it though
(Except for knocking off the odd sheep)
I'll try my best for Mary and the kids
They'd be better off without me
Plenty of help for a gaolbird's wife and family
She is thinking of leaving me I know
Her eyes fill with tears at times
I meant every word when we married
A man takes care of his own.

Four years on the dole.
Four years in the far, far que.

Thomas Golding

Thomas Golding

Lower Hutt. Wellington. New Zealand
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