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Treading water

To be in love doth teach much about which flint

May best strike the hearth giving rise to flame

Kindled in high passion that will not quench no

Matter what weight of tears sizzle in the embers

Of misfortune


Work is scarce right now and I am reduced to

Accepting anything on offer - jobs that may last

For but one day only before the search for work

Begins all over again. Times are hard and food

Ever dearer in the shops. My love holds me to

Her breast and whispers 'When will this end?’

When will prosperity return to this former land

Of plenty?'


I can't bear to say I don't know, so I tell her

That things will be better by Christmas, but in

My heart of hearts I doubt my own words, for

I see nothing on the horizon to give me hope

In candlelight her beauty calls to me tempting

Every bone in my body, her white cotton shift

Hiding nothing from my imagination or dire

Need to approach


God, I love this woman. But we have to be strong

Bringing a child into this world-of-want would be a

Folly and moreover plain wrong thus our lovemaking

Is an act of caution and consideration holding back

More than letting go. Not being able to provide for a

Loving wife leaves me in tearful despair. I invited her

Into my life and now without gainful employment I

Battle to even put bread on the table. A fine mess

I got her into


She tells me, bless her, that we have each other and

So we do, but a man must work and be useful to his

Family no matter the size. At present I am struggling

To feed two imagine what it would be like feeding

Three or four and thus I am robbed of love


Once I was a man of substance with my own plant

And like a lot of industrialists at the time I borrowed

Heavily on the prospect of profitable times to come

A change for the better that never came and thus

Without warning the bank called in my overdraft and

Sunk me in a week. How easy it is to adjust to rising

Fortune and how difficult to cope with diminishing

Returns. With nowhere to turn I must face the truth

And adjust to my new found poverty


To be looking for work in the midst of a recession

Is a hopeless task. It robs a man and his family

Of respect and can enter every room in the house

Especially the kitchen where food is scarce and

Bellies often empty. What price the rich tables at

Election time now, the back patting, the broad grins

And the self-congratulation? What was the point

When in my household not one political promise

Was kept nor one benefit received?


I go to bed tonight hungry yet happy in the arms

Of my love. I have resolved to try even harder

Tomorrow, when I shall get up early and tread the

Streets not for me but for my love whose faith

I have yet to reward


A flyer in the post this morning assures my wife and

I that if we tread water for the next two years …


© Joseph G Dawson
21/07/2018 and earlier

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