Poverty is a Pitiful Prison
Please, don’t worry, I don’t need your pity for me,
Really, I’m free. Yes, I’m poor now.
Just the money can’t matter to people like me.
It’s “the root of all evil” for the heartless you see.
We survive scarcity and we stand with our pride.
If we scrimp, we make-do on a pittance.
We’re good stewards of what’s by our side.
True for us, no tales of greed just good riddance.
Though my pockets are empty, you won’t hear me whine.
Our continuous state is bereft.
Watch me do it with twine and not ask for what’s mine.
We relent and show up for what’s left.
There are always some crumbs left behind by the dude.
When we cope in the dump, like our kind,
Scavenge scraps that we cobble together for food,
You can see a survivor-formed mind.
It’s our natural place when surrounded by filth.
It feels hopeless down here in the slums.
There are days when we scrape up the dregs of the wealth.
So, it’s easy to think we’re just bums.
Despite promises made oh, so recent.
Being poor is a powerful prison.
Resigned in a life that’s not decent.
Good cheer is destroyed by that poison.
There’s a world where they say that our work is well paid.
If we get on a ship, we can sail
To a city with jobs and be hired as a maid,
drive delivery truck with the mail.
There are tales of a land where there’s work for us all.
But we have to leave loved ones behind.
That’s the price to climb out and to answer the call
Of a life where we find peace of mind.
In the land where I’m free to create a new dream
I’ll work hard and have patience to burn.
With a job, I’ll show up, even work on a team.
I can’t think I deserve what I earn.
I relent and collapse, I’m too tired to think.
It’s a place where it feels just the same.
No, we’re not close to rich, just get by, and I drink.
But, we save and we plan and we gain.
Here’s a place to survive and to struggle for pay.
Let’s keep going to pick up some change.
It can add up to more at the end of the day
And, we’ll sing that song, Home on the Range.
One thing, though, can come of our sweat
‘Cause our kids have it better than us.
They’ll be the hard working and best
in the driver’s seat, not on a bus.
So, we work and tomorrow will bring a new day,
And my strength will pay off in the end.
But not yet, I can’t find a new way…
I’ll start trudging all over again.
- Heather Carlile