National Poetry Competition 1978
- Ted Hughes
- Fleur Adcock
- Gavin Ewart
Tom Paine at one time made
ladies' corsets. And why not? I too had
a job once, I remember, on
an assembly line.
Seems a long time ago.
Every fucking Monday I stand here , grow
grey-faced, slack; I slouch. What do I
care about the law,
ain't got the power? said
Cornelius Vanderbilt. Went to bed
last night, the wife says, common sense
doesn't stand a chance
when you're up against profit,
I says to her, you don't want to say that
too loud, can we have the light off
now? It's a rip off,
she says, the whole caper.
See what it said today in the paper?
Go to sleep, Glad, I says. Tom Paine,
refused a seat on
the stagecoach, was told by
the passengers to fear the Lord's wrath. I
wonder at times what has become
of justice if some
can buy their own. I won't
pretend to understand the world. I don't.
One night we sat and watched the stars,
listened to the cars
on the carriageway back
of our house. The stars were bright, the night black.
Why, says Glad, are we landed with
a life before death?