Back to the Future

(Photograph by Horace Warner-Spitalfields Life)

By Marilyn Zuckerman

Back to let them eat cake
to Oliver wants more
to orphans, hair shorn, lined up, plates out.
to the Dickensian streets
to children lining the tracks, picking up bits of coal,
swallowing down road kill rejected by dogs
—while Oliver slaves in the blacking factory
and Tiny Tim does die for lack of a doctor’s care.
Back to Scrooge, who never went away,
to child labor in the coal mines or coal factories
out of Blake’s dark satanic mills.
Back to typhoid and tuberculosis.
When all the owners care about is cost, people die.

Out of the mist, the fog and soot—
comes the pauper, the chimney sweep, the starveling—
with hungry eyes and dirty fingers,
pressed against the glass of the restaurant window
where you are eating your Christmas turkey.

Back to the return of charity,
of the sanctimonious charity of the wealthy—
like the dimes Henry Ford scattered to the crowd.
And who but Scrooge denies heat to the freezing,
aid to the famished and rest to the tired?

Back to that heartless century, in a soulless city.
To the workhouse with its iron gates,
To smokestacks against the sky
Back to those dank, back alleys where we have taken a journey
to a time and place that are becoming more familiar to us each day
for soon the brown air of London will be ours too.

·     ·     ·

This poem is from a collection called “Foreclosure”, written about collateral damage caused by the Recession of 2008 and it unfortunately appears to be even more relevant today.

http://marilynzuckermanpoet.com

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The House V

By Marilyn Zuckerman

Instead of photos, these poems use words to tell of the phenomena while I sit on the deck drinking it all in.

Silence
For Pico Iyer, whose thoughts about silence and the sacred I have borrowed.

In the distance
someone is beating a rug
or wet laundry,
children’s voices shouting
then fading away,
their cries muffled
as though under water.
Overhead a silent plane
its lights flickering like stars,
insects,
a crow cawing,
a train whistle.
Everything flowing
within this irresistible silence
while I lay splayed on the lounge chair
like a TB patient
when suddenly the sound of traffic
soars like the growling of a storm cloud
far away—
and the deep silence returns
that first empties your mind,
then brings you to the true self
that lies trembling beneath your heart.

Sunset by JMW Turner (Tate)

Pictures at an Exhibition

Sunset,
like a Turner painting.
The sky’s afire
and we are looking
into the hot heart of a furnace.

Thick clouds streaked with Blakean light
streaming through, as the sun slips down
to the other side of the earth,
leaving a rosy shadow of itself
silhouetted behind the mountain
as black-cloaked night falls

·    ·    ·

These poems form the fifth installment in a sequence about the construction of my home—read the first hereRead the second here, the third here, and the fourth here.

 http://marilynzuckermanpoet.com

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