6 - Serious Stuff


The monument to poverty


The monument to poverty does not reach high.

It barely extends above ground level

and is difficult to find among those cool monoliths

that stand testament to the wealthy, the powerful, the exalted,

that cram our cities in their contest for loftiness,

that flash their nightly neon salutes to self-indulgence,

that in daylight present their barricade against the dispossessed.


The monument to poverty does not stand out,

scarcely visible in the schools, the churches,

the galleries and graveyards,

where gilt and marble monuments pay tribute

to the deserving rich.


And the monument to poverty does not claim attention.

Although constant it remains mostly neglected,

and eternal but it mostly goes unnoticed

(even by those who walk with eyes cast down).

Stretched broad under the city skyscrapers,

graded smooth for concrete freeways,

ploughed flush on broadacre farms,

underpinning factory floors,

propping up Parliament and places

of much higher education,


The monument to poverty does not reach high.

It is flat,

flat as a rain-sodden cardboard carton,

flat as a wind-blown week-old broadsheet,

flat as forgotten sleet-soaked battlefields,

flat as a well-used track,

flat as a pancake,

flat as a tack,

flat enough to be placed protectively

under the carpet.

free hit counter