New verse, taken from the recently published collection of New Zealand political poems, by Dunedin writer Peter Olds.
Young people shouldn’t have to work
in supermarkets on Boxing Day.
No young person under the age of 35
should have to work during summer
holidays. The owners of supermarkets,
lounging on beach and boat-deck, who
set the whole crazy economy up like it is
in the first place, should be behind
counters and checkouts instead.
Young people should be hitch-hiking across
the country, surfing, getting lost in bush,
making love under waterfalls, rolling
down sand hills—and generally having
a good time (before it’s too late), while
the rest of us who love money and
fiddling with our hands, who have been
stupid enough to ignore our own youth,
blindly letting it slip past, who are old,
grey and crotchety—should do all the work …
So—extract yourselves, young ones,
from your Oppressive Checkout Machines
and go and Overthrow a Government or two!
What do you think life is for—the Rich,
the Famous, the Privileged?
Under the New Republic no child below
the age of 35 shall be required to work in
supermarkets (or anywhere) on Boxing Day,
if they write poems.
From Manifesto Aotearoa: 101 Political Poems, edited by Philip Temple and Emma Neale (Otago University Press, $35)
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