Elegy For A Poor Boy

In his cups, he had noted that many years ago, he once knew what it is to be poor
But that now, he knows only what it means to be poor
The intervening decades having evidenced the probity of Uncle Karl’s dictum That
Only The Working Class May Move Freely Through The Class System

His early experience had rather shown the opposite to be the case
His family, his neighbours, his street, his teachers, his school, his friends
And the Anglo-Catholic Church personified by Father O’Byrne all telling him
That
He should be happy in his lot – with new, improved Serf

But he studied hard and learned how to be patronised by lessers with more
Became something in the City without ever becoming someone else in the City
A man about town doing business with men from Tudor facades out of town
Who
Liked to call him a man abeout teown and let him hear the great divide

He fell under the influence of socialists. Not the flat hat and wire glasses sort
But the sort with Orwell paperbacks and a light burning permanently in the eye
The sort who went on marches and delivered pamphlets late at night
Who
Wanted to own the means of production and distribution
(They even wanted to democratise the armed forces!)

Barry – gentle, brutal Barry – revealed to him the mysteries of the Class System
Being both as poor as a church mouse and middle class is not a contradiction
Class is not necessarily linked to wealth and possessions, he pronounced
But
If you trail the English bourgeois, you’ll soon learn how to get the best for less

So he took the lesson. Or rather, the bits that suited. And moved on
Mostly because Joe Stalin was not a Good Companion and JB Priestly was
He came to believe that any revolution should be the product of need, not guilt
And
History is a raging inferno that has many poor boys pissing on it

Splat

 

 

 

 

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