Penury

Poem #8 of the 30/30 challenge for Poetry Month

Penury

Poverty slams doors
and binds them shut
with shackles purchased
with the fruits of avarice,
thick ribbons of greed
sewn from raw hubris and cold
conceit.

Devoid of the fibers of
kindness, these braids
weave a crusted cloth, woven into
clothing worn in unearned
shame by victims of circumstance
thrust upon them by someone else’s
excess.

Destitution strangles budding
aspirations with colorless scarves
stitched from hunger and ignorance
left in the wake of frenzied gluttony,
as gold leaf becomes fare to feed the ego,
leaving the soul begging for more noble
sustenance.

Carving through this brutal
tangle of malevolent threads and
sinister fabrics demands passion as
stark as cold-blooded murder, skills as
sharp as a surgeon’s healing blade, and
love as tender as a new mother’s
kiss.

The means to rip those damnable doors from
their twisted hinges are the same needed to
shred those shackles and scarves into soft
bandages; a lethal commitment to ending
indifference, a steadfast resolve to rewarding
decency and generosity, and the boldest tool,
compassion.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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