Eating Payslips (Poem)

In years that slipped with passing change,

I would have ploughed the field to eat;

I would have kneeled to dirt and scraped my life with mucky hands.

The empty greens, I pass them all;

With not a sign to what they hold;

Of what the rain or sun would mean against a gut that growled.


I harvest paper full of nothing;

I keep supplies of coloured clips,

To please a faceless name in numbing, dulling email chains

That say to keep on typing swift

And leave distracting dreams at home,

So families can be fed their warming soup on shining spoons.


I keep my payslips close to hand;

They’re all I have to live on now.

I haven’t seeds to sow,

Or sun-soaked brow,

Or crops to grow,

Or fields to plough.


by Harry Husbands