work

WORKING POVERTY

 

From medieval times

Romani women

Peering at palms

Some silken soft

Fewer worn and callused

Mapping wet tea leaves

Extracting colorful dyes from

Precious saffron

Strong spices

Local flora, used to

Embellish wood chips

Painted arcane symbols

Touched by the questor’s hands

Anxiously listening to

Forthcoming flutterings

Struggling to earn a few coins

That will stay sewn

Into the hem of the skirt

Lined with tiny mirrors

Reflecting jakhalo

Whether the Evil Eye

Deliberate or accidental

Part of the colorful clothes

An Eastern European version

Of the sari once worn

Before driven from the homeland

Into a freezing diaspora

Scattering all over the world

Some unluckily becoming slaves

Feeding the maw of

Greedy jaws

Until desrobireja

Emancipation

In the 19th century

Freedom once again

To travel the muddy roads

Never escape, though,

From need and someone else’s greed

Saving those few coins of comfort

In a romanticized job

With longer hours

Than nine to five

I, no better than my ancestors

The working poor

Trying to stay alive…

 

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

IMAGE:  A Chance Meeting with a Fortune-Teller, Adrien Moreau 1834-1906

 

 

 

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IN THE END

botannical garden wales 2

When I first saw Bob Dylan life changed

Wanted to help the poor and sing

Now I’m the poor but sure tried my best

Just raised my hand, volunteered for everything

***

As I wear my blue collar origins

Like a newly-inked tattoo

Silently screaming in pain

Failure from a world view

***

I see the absurd injustice

After years of employment

In working class poverty

With barely any enjoyment

***

Not sure about the road to happiness

Is it service or accumulated wealth?

How I envy those who can combine them

But can it guarantee mental health?

***

Yet I sit in my quiet chapel

Surrounded by herbs and birds

Surely luckier than many others

As I scribble thoughts into words

***

May I then state that life is not

Credit and debit accounting ledgers?

Whatever we do it ends the same

The lesson? Find and treasure the pleasures…

***

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

(IMAGE: Thanks to Karen Bruton, photo from botanical garden In Wales)