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The trudge, that never faltered
each livelong day -
through chill mists of dawn,
over jagged stone and scree,
blood dripping
from unshod feet,
through blinding rain and lashing storm-
limbs squelching
through vile repugnant slush…

The years of toil-
unremitting ...back breaking...heart rending,
in the searing heat
of a savage sun-
eking mere pittance
from barren fields-
desperately scraping sustenance
from the smallest crumbs
thrown off the High Table…

Then ,at last,
in sheer despair -
your body turns on itself-
rampaging berserk
through fragile vitals –
ripping up - tearing to shreds…
Till ,
brain exploding
in a welter of blood and gore ,
you lie stilled forever-
a pitiful huddle
on hard ,stony ground…

The swift end –
the only mercy
granted you by the Gods ..

Did you have
to be struck down thus ,
so that these lines -
each a tear for your life
now gone forever-
might pour through the mind
…onto the page ?

Yet -
would to God it were never so….


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The following comments are for "To a toiling labourer"


Thanks very much for having looked in.Must say your comments were most interesting ,to say the very least.

Was especially taken up by what you said about that film in Iceland , your mordant take on Manchester and of course marriage -very sly but very clever ...rounded off by that bit of introspection.

You seem to have been everywhere ..Malaya , Outer Mongolia, Bulgaria .This must have been Malaya in the early 50s ..and that too with the likes of Toni Gardiner- and of course the communists.

What wouldn't I give to have been around like you have.


( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: July 25, 2005 )

Fairplay's film
I think the film you have in mind was Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), made in Canada with mostly non-actors -- local Inuit people. Incredible film.

RJKT, I actually just followed Fairplay's comment here, but was struck by your poem as well. I can see how it reminded him of Atanarjuat in its desolation and dimly-lit stoic misery. Nice work, man!

( Posted by: Viper9 [Member] On: September 23, 2005 )

Fairtplay , Viper9
Eric and Viper9

Thanks very much for both your comments...wish you'd tell us more about the film ..maybe a post here would be a great idea.

From whatever little i could make out this film ,seems to have more than a little in common with Kurosawa's Derzu Uzala absolutely brilliant movie , which i remember having seen years ago.

Strange that you should say it Eric but the guy that had me too rivetted during that entire sorry episode was Saddam Information minister who was absolutely unforgettable standing there cocking a snook at the onrushing leviathans of the two big bully boys .... GWB and "Shifty' Tony - Knight of the Order of the Perfidy...

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: September 23, 2005 )

Life? RJKT
Life's a Bitch,
And then you're Dead?


( Posted by: ivordavies [Member] On: September 23, 2005 )

Ivor ,Eric
Right on....give it all you've got...absolutely no point in going out with a whimper...'gently into the good night' as DT so famously raved...

To be sure Saddam should ,seeing the odds against him, should have packed it all in and quietly walked away.Would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.

Perhaps I'm becoming absolutely delusional...but the parallels with one hundred years back are eerie...'Western civilisations at their apogee, riding the crest of a vast tidal wave of an unparalleled run of prosperity .. white supremacy running rampant ...the unshakable conviction that 'we have Right on our side , and therefore can do no wrong'...entire nations champing at the bit, raring to go to war....all culminating in the Guns of August .'

Here's ,however, to hoping it never happens.

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: September 23, 2005 )

To a toiling labourer
The rich get richer. The US is an example of a country that is rapidly squeezing out it middle class and reverting to history in its labor practices: anti-union, no benefits and no voice it their economic destiny. The downward spiral began with stopping unionization of the Air Traffic Controllers during the Reagan Administration, a good 25 years ago. Thanks for the poignant reminder in your verses.

( Posted by: Echomarm [Member] On: June 1, 2007 )

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