A Poem For Our Troubled Times

When middle-class dreams shatter,
rarely do the jagged shards fall upward,
which would require muscle, pulleys, power,
a secret conveyor belt pointed toward hidden privilege.
Rather, the broken pieces almost always rain downward,

upon the heads of the poor, the silenced, the vulnerable.
Raining glass helped by the gravitational tug of a demagogue’s
disdain: “It’s them!” “It’s them!” Shouted twice for dramatic effect.
Next comes the angst, the anger, the poisoned gods of grievance.
Then finally the thunder of raging crowds. Now guess who bleeds?

© 2020 –Dale Biron

For many of us, the cost of living has gone up dramatically. Here in the US, it’s about 30% and as far as I have been told by my friends overseas, it’s the same there. Electricity, Lumber, groceries, supplies, and material costs are through the roof. Rents for houses and apartments are going up, and new mortgages are costly.

Guess who bleeds?

My small workshop is still in business. I am busy but had to let my helper go. He wanted more money again, and I didn’t want to raise my prices. Now I do everything alone, it takes longer and I work harder.

The middle class will get poorer. More tents with homeless people on the streets will remind us that most of us are just a few paychecks away ourselves. Perhaps that’s why we don’t want to see them so close to our homes. How can we keep up an illusion when reality stares us in the face?

With a broken heart, I look at a broken world. The systems we have in place often don’t work. Our freedom is crumbling under too much freedom of the individual.

The moment I leave my home, I am now public property. If I cry or laugh, stumble and fall, or skip with joy, everybody can take a picture of me, any time, any moment, in any situation. I have lost my privacy, but I still believe in it.

We have given up some but have gained a lot.

We can speak our minds any time we want, we can offend and be rude. We can bend the truth until it breaks and can spread lies and rumors as we please. We can hate and disrespect openly, and we can condemn anybody.

We watch people die live on TV. We hear gunshots on our screens every day.

The sky is no longer the limit, darkness has clouded the horizon.

As children our actions had consequences. We didn’t lie, we didn’t steal, we didn’t cheat, nor did we spread rumors. We were raised to be honest and kind. We learned to offer help, empathy, and compassion was planted as a seed and it grew wild inside of us.

We all had values that mattered. Where are they today?

Why do I still hold tight to my principles, when others don’t? Will I be trampled down by a reality that so many deny exists?

How much longer can I hang on to my dreams?


15 thoughts on “A Poem For Our Troubled Times

  1. Oh, Bridget! I’m sighing for a very different reason than when you visit me. You have to hang on to those dreams and believe in the essential goodness of folk. What else is there? But you can still tell it like it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Once again, an amazing poem. And the only responseI have for why you hold onto your principles when others don’t is because you have a strong moral center and you wouldn’t sleep well otherwise. If it weren’t for people like you, with conscience, conviction and a clear social justice ethic I fear we’d be entirely lost. We can’t lose hope–at least not entirely. 🥲

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We seem to be living in a world without consequences. When our children lie about homework or fail a test, they get moved up to the next grade regardless. When we steal from our companies, it’s ok because they won’t miss what we take. It’s only illegal if we get caught. We justify all the bad things we do and then also justify all the bad things OTHERS do. As communities, we used to help the poor, the mentally handicapped, and those victims of tragedy. We used to know our neighbors and their kids and their dogs and cats! We cared for each other.

    But now? We’ve become adept at passing blame. We blame the instruments and not the causes. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Jimmy Stewart in charge of the Savings and Loan? Wouldn’t it be nice to have your local mechanic who knew your car inside and out? Wouldn’t it be good to barter with the local farmers instead of looking up what corporations owned which feedlots? Wouldn’t it be nice if builders made starter homes for young people just starting out or those of modest means? My son’s apartment is 1/3 size of my house and he pays $500/month more in rent than we pay in mortgage payments. Why? Because he doesn’t qualify for a mortgage. Does that make sense? He’d actually be paying less for a whole house than he is for his apartment and he doesn’t qualify because he doesn’t make enough money. And instead of solving the problem, we look for someone to blame.


  4. Powerful words from Dale Biron. You’re spot on about all the signs and symptoms of a broken world. The beliefs and assumptions upon which modern Western societies have been built are no longer sustainable. As the middle-class continues to feel the impact, the working poor will face even more privations. The values you hold dear–honesty, kindness, empathy, and compassion–have the power to save us from ourselves. We humans have to create a new dream of equality and inclusion for all people…everywhere.


  5. Along with the modern sense of entitlement there seems to be a need to blame previous generations for excesses. I don’t remember a life of excess, of taking more than I was worth, or entitled to. I do remember having no money to spend until the next pay day, and no means of alleviating that situation. I do remember helping out others when we could barely afford to keep ourselves. There are many things wrong with society and most will never be fixed until the whole of society decides it will be fixed. Unfortunately, I cannot see that happening, ever! Meanwhile, I shall try to remain head over heels in love with life, and my wife!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We should never stop asking – nor let go of our dreams. Somewhere along the line a link was broken to allow this sense of entitlement to prevail and money to become the apparent loadstone to happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Current society’s sense of entitlement I feel, comes from a time of plenty. Disappointment clashed with higher and higher expectations with each generation. The financial system is based on the concept of an infinite supply of resources and ever increasing productivity. That cannot be reconciled in a world that is finite and contracting? Who loses? Mostly the middle and lower class. The poor receive welfare assistance in countries that help disadvantaged groups and legitimately so, they do absolutely need help in all sorts of ways. The elite and wealthy/multinationals gets squeezed a little but know how they can work the system. Scurrying assets like squirrels into a relatives name, then declaring bankruptcy and moving on with all ten investment properties secured for later plus pay minimal tax because they know how to avoid paying it. Small business and middle income earners are sandwiched in between supporting both ends of the spectrum.
    As resources tighten and we try to save the planet’s climate, things will get tougher. We have to find a way to knuckle down or distribute wealth more evenly. The American capitalist dream is admirable but it is not one that everyone can enjoy. It needs an underclass to, for want of a better word, exploit. The gap between the have and have noted can only sadly widen in the short term. It is quite depressing.

    Liked by 2 people

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