Poem: ‘The Breakthrough’

‘The Breakthrough’


    I once asked a Labour man,

    “Are you a Socialist? Answer me if you can”.

    “I’m a Labour man”, he answered.

    “So it’s obvious I am”.


    “There’s nowt obvious it”, says I,

    And he looked at me strangely before he said,

    “Are you quite alright, mate,

    Or are you goin’ funny in the head?”


    “No”, says I simply, saddened by his manner,

    Reflecting that all Labour men

    Say they wave the Socialist banner.

    But you ask ’em what Socialism is

    And they haven’t got a clue.

    They think it’s Nationalisation

    Or some other pathetic view.


    I say, “Do you think it’s a world system

    That has no need for money?”

    And he looks at me again in that same old way

    As though he thinks I really have gone funny.


    “Well that’s Socialism”, I say.

    “No buying, no selling, no spending, no pay.

    There’ll be no need, you see,

    Everything’s readily available,

    Everything’s free”.


    “What about work? he says.

    “Who’s goin’ do it for nowt?”

    “That’s no problem”, says I.

    “That’s not hard to figure out.

    You’ll work cos you want work

    Not cos of what they pay ya.

    If you had a choice of doin’ summat

               or nowt all day,

    I’m sure you’d choose summat, what say ya?”


    “Mm, reckon so,” he says. “You might have summat after all.”

    “There’s no reckon about it,” says I, “it’s a fact

    Or my name ain’t Paul”.

    “Well, when’s this free world going to come about, then?

    Tell me how long we’ve got?”

    “As soon as folk like you come and join us

    Instead of listening to that Labour rot”.


    He nodded reflectively,

    As though he’d just seen the light,

    And I knew in my heart

    He was going to say what was right.

    “Are you a Labour man?” I asked again.

    “Or cab you now see clearly through the mist?”

    “Nay, lad,” he replied smilingly,

                I’m no Labour man.

    I’m a Socialist.”


Paul Breeze

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