1990s >> 1998 >> no-1131-november-1998

The Worker’s Mirage


The dangling carrot ‘Henry’ must pursue,

Still out of reach, but never out of view,

With every step he thinks ‘Tis mine at last

But so did Henry’s father in the past,

A greater stride he thinks will win the prize,

But still the carrot dangles ‘fore his eyes,’

Tantalisingly, promising a chew,

Still out of reach, but never out of view.

There is no need of blinders for this moke,

He only sees the carrot, not the joke,

There never was a heavier burdened mule,

There never was a more obstinate fool,

As age and toil combine to slow his pace,

Yet still the carrot stares him in the face,

Still goads him on, his efforts to renew,

Still out of reach, but never out of view.

The whip or stick could never have obtained,

A greater service, as with muscles strained,

And clenched teeth that strive to make the bite,

He labour on each day, sometimes at night,

Until the eyes grow dim and slow the tread,

And chest supports the balding, drooping head,

The once proud prance becomes a shambling gait,

The tired torso begs to pause and wait.

And so there comes a time when he no more,

May grunt and swear, and sweat from every pore,

But there are not green pastures for this ass,

In which his few remaining years may pass,

The carrot now forever, from his view,

A pittance of a pension is his due,

His life mis-spent, through chasing a mirage,

The dangling carrot known as ‘Living Wage’

JAMES BOYLE (3/1/62)

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