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Short poem

David Herbert Lawrence (1885-1930)


              1The wages of work is cash.
              2The wages of cash is want more cash.
              3The wages of want more cash is vicious competition.
              4The wages of vicious competition is -- the world we live in.

              5The work-cash-want circle is the viciousest circle
              6that ever turned men into fiends.

              7Earning a wage is a prison occupation
              8and a wage-earner is a sort of gaol-bird.
              9Earning a salary is a prison overseer's job,
            10a gaoler instead of a gaol-bird.

            11Living on your income is strolling grandly outside the prison
            12in terror lest you have to go in. And since the work-prison covers
            13almost every scrap of the living earth, you stroll up and down
            14on a narrow beat, about the same as a prisoner taking his exercise.

            15This is called universal freedom.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: D. H. Lawrence, Pansies: Poems (London: Martin Secker, 1929): 112-13. PR 6023 A93P3 1929 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1929
Publication date note: See Roberts A47
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2000.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/12

Composition date: 24 November 1928 - 29 November 1928
Composition date note: See Ellis, 586
Form: Free Verse

Other poems by David Herbert Lawrence