by Justin Wong (March 2020)
Levitation, Egon Schiele, 1915
A Quiet Revolt
A quiet revolt has occurred,
Within our world and time,
Sovereignty’s slowly been deferred,
Dissent is known as crime,
Tell them all who came before
That all they knew was sin,
The vain, idyllic civil wars,
With liberty confined to the bin.
We are seeing a world anew,
Being architected before the eye,
Court and Throne’s course is through,
Like a lone hovering autumn fly.
Rope’s no longer the wage of sin,
Nor treason for the toppled crown,
Anarchy’s sweet, alluring hymn,
Is sung through every sleepy town.
Breathe deep of the air of rebellion’s season,
Against the fading, natural order,
Dark spirits are at war with reason,
Institution, and the salt-sea border.
To see the world, we cherished unformed,
From our glorious, prosperous youth,
Its eminence never to reform,
To speak not of the vanquished truth.
Construct thee a new commonwealth,
Beyond the gateway out of Eden,
In memories of our prior health,
wisdom, desire and freedom.
I’ve seen the ruins—the ashen palace—
The parliament like powder as it frays.
Tis the hour of envy, deceit, and of malice,
Where gone are our mirth-filled days.
My Father worked in the daylight,
My Father knew of Adam’s curse,
My Father worked at night,
And filled with coins my Mother’s purse.
Though gone are the days when you reared me,
Never to revive are the glories of old,
The hard work you instilled in me,
Were a bill of goods you sold.
For few are the jobs that are out there,
And plenty the people wand’ring in,
The majority of our days lived on welfare,
A life lived as lonesome as sin.
For the work you had has been exported,
To people in faraway, sweltering climes,
With goods and grief in exchange imported,
Which marks the prelude of our hard times.
How can those in developed nations
Work for the pittance of a pound a day?
In Asia that’s ample for bus fare,
Good food and a place to stay.
In a world where gold only matters,
Where everyone and thing has its price,
The poorest become exploited,
The affluent with our heads in a vice.
Through all this drastic change,
Jobs and wages did deplete,
In a world more unthinkably strange,
Man and machine have made me obsolete.
Through this, I haven’t lived the life,
Anything like the example you gave,
Alone and unyoked to a wife,
No sons to lower me into my grave.
I remember the evenings of my youth,
When you would return back from your toil,
Weary and asleep on the couch,
In a house you possessed upon your own soil,
For my Father worked in daylight,
In the arid heat of the sun,
My Father worked at night,
Though I am not my Father’s son.
Justin Wong is originally from Wembley, though at the moment is based in the West Midlands. He has been passionate about the English language and Literature since a young age. Previously, he lived in China working as an English teacher. His novel Millie’s Dream is available here.
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