Wednesday, 4 March 2015

There's a spike in the figures today



I was at a demonstration earlier this week organised by DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) protesting against the government’s "work capacity assessments", which are leaving people with no means of income, unable to find work or claim any benefits.

The following poem was read out, and it touched me.  I wanted to share it on my blog, and the author, Liz Gray, kindly gave her permission.



Spike

(on the anti-homeless spikes)

There’s a spike in the figures today
rough sleepers are up
in the early dawn
before the cleaners come
to clatter up the cans
and bin the burger-boxes
before the real people come:
the ones who count
the ones who work
the ones who earn
the ones who pay.
Pick up your bed and walk away.

There’s a spike in the figures today
poor people are up
in the early morning
before the bailiffs knock
to clear out the beds
and change the locks
before the real people come:
the ones who rent
the ones who work
the ones who earn
the ones who pay
Pack up your stuff and go away.

There’s a spike in the figures today:
the unemployed are up
in the late morning
to wait in line
for a face-to-face with a face behind glass;
the glass says, Go away:
these jobs are for the real people;
the ones who fit
the ones who work
the ones who earn
the ones who pay.
Fold up your forms and go away.

There are spikes in the doorway at dusk;
they have grown there all day
like silver bulbs pushing through concrete.
The bulbs say, Go away:
this space is for the real people,
the ones who count
the ones who work
the ones who earn
the ones who pay.
Pick up your feet and walk away.

And the evening comes on
and the rain sets in
and the clubbers come out
in their sleeveless shirts.
There’s a man on every doorway
and the man says, Go away.
This club is for the real people;
the ones who join
the ones who work
the ones who earn
the ones who spend.
Pick up your bags and walk away.

And the night comes on
and the rain sets in
and the clubbers go home
and the doorman
locks the door.

There’s a man on a bench tonight:
worn out by the world, he sleeps,
the spikes have pierced his feet.
No-one wants this man
he is moved on from place to place
he is down and out in London
and everywhere.
And the real people,
the ones who count
and the ones who rent
and the ones who fit
and the ones who join
and the ones who work
and the ones who earn
and the ones who spend
and the ones who pay
and the ones who clap
and the ones who sing
and the ones who chant
and the ones who pray:
they are all asleep
in the deep of night
but the son of man
has nowhere to lay his head.
© Liz Gray, 2014


3 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Gary - I was going to so you've saved me a job :-) xx

    ReplyDelete