A Poem for our Times of Post-Brexit Labour Shortages
I was waiting to get off the late evening train;
I saw the tired face of a cleaner
Gathering up rubbish
And wiping all seat-tops
His eyes dark-ringed,
Glaring in exhaustion
Here is someone juggling two jobs.
I thought of all the invisble work
Driving a tanker from depot to fuel pumps,
Or helping an old person to the toilet
In the darkest hours of the night.
Mostly we never see those jobs;
Just expect our sandwiches and petrol to be there when we want.
Slaves used to live in cellars;
Servants in attic rooms;
The preferred mode of service silent,
And mostly out of sight,
Just there when called for,
With casual disregard of their needs and lives.
So why now are we suddenly shocked
By the disappearance of those who did the jobs
We all took for granted?