We may not see eye to eye but we are together in this thing and we have to rub along somehow because, I reckon we need each other. I mean, I know you are a big shot in the city with a pink striped shirt and gold cufflinks and I’m only a poet with funny glasses and a little beard . I know you’re busy making a lot of money for the country, I appreciate that, I really do. Maybe I’m there to do some of the things that you haven’t got time for. Like trying to get a handle on some of those big questions such as what are we all doing here and why. But give me a couple of hours to notice the waves and the wind and the grass blowing on the cliff-top the way you don’t have time to do and I’ll happily share it with you in some sort of entertaining poem. Money is of little interest to me so I suppose I am just as much a misfit as you are in the general run of things. Me, for my blindness to wealth, you for your need to acquire more and more beyond satisfying any rational want. I’ve always thought that must be a terrible affliction. I have a sort of inkling what it’s like because I like to collect sea shells and fossils. Perhaps this mania for collecting is some sort of substitute for the funny, knockabout, not-having-anything-much childhood that makes people grow up to be useful and productive members of society as my Mum would have put it.
I had a wonderful life as a kid and it gave me the confidence to set off on my own as a writer. You must have missed out a lot. Bundled off to prep school at the age of eight and being bullied by the bigger kids. I know that’s all part of life and it makes a man of you but I bet sometimes you wonder if things would have been just a little bit better if you’d had a more normal life with a Mum and Dad. Or even two Mums or Two Dads. Or if there was just someone who cared. Either way I feel sorry for what the lack of human love must have done for you. No wonder you don’t believe in society- you’ve never known it. Unless we talk about THAT society. That substitute for love you had to endure. You know that dog eat dog group of rejected misfits like you where the guys thought up ridiculous steel edged visions of the world based on your fifth form economics and reading trashy American pulp fantasy novels by Ayn Rand and drinking yourself stupid and throwing food around.
No, because, you see, we both belong to a community that’s bigger than that and includes all the misfits and poets like you and me but also all the shirkers and slackers and sick people and those who can’t cope one way or another and those who weren’t blessed with the wits that you and I have. And all the honest, decent folk who try hard to support you by making the stuff you need and who buy and sell and keep you in business. Maybe we could liken it to a raft that we’re all clinging to and all doing our best to get this thing to land somewhere. Or is that a bit of a facile analogy? Never mind that’s my problem, not yours. I’ll try to think about a better one.
But I’m afraid to say that I can’t vote for your harsh, Gradgrind ideology born out of hate and despair in which your love of accumulation is the only way to a future where we must retreat to our own cabin in the woods with a shotgun and a bottle of tequila and keep the threatening hordes at bay. Maybe, if I see a bit less of the naked greed thing and a bit more of the working together... The truth is, we are all in this together and we need to work together not against each other. And what you do, making money, paying taxes does a brilliant job helping the needy, the sick and the disabled and those who are escaping tyranny and poverty. Thanks for your efforts and I’ll try to keep the poetry going in return.