Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Politics of Envy v The Politics of Greed

I do not envy you your trillion pounds
And the luxury lifestyle that you lead
Or the billions you have hidden away
That typifies your rapacious greed.

I do not envy you your million pounds
Your 5 star holidays and crates of wine
Or the thousands in generous bonuses
And expenses allowing you to fine dine.

I do not envy you the hundreds of pounds
You can throw around like confetti in my face
As many vulnerable struggle to find a place to live
That in a wealthy country is an absolute disgrace.

The specialist doctors say I am too sick to work
But welfare assessments say I am well
I seem to have had an overnight miracle cure
Although I am enduring a painful kind of hell.

So why do you begrudge me my benefit
A few pounds to keep me alive
When ill health has also stolen my dignity
And I am now struggling to survive?

The obscene wealth has not trickled down
From the fountains of avarice you create
For the poor are becoming poorer
With the rapid shrinking of the state.

Today I am down to my last few pennies
I do not know how I will eat tonight
Sanctioned because I struggled to breathe
Surely this cannot be moral, ethical or right.

©Suzanne Kelsey August 3rd 2015

I had always been very fit and proactive in my efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle.  I was a trained teacher specialising in dance and drama, dance trained at the Laban dance studios in London, a qualified health and fitness instructor and a tutor on the 'Look after your heart' programme, as well as a full-time teacher and lecturer in education and child development.  Imagine my horror when I suddenly collapsed in 2009, my heart going into bizarre and alarming rhythms.  I was diagnosed with heart failure and a chronic condition called dilated cardiomyopathy apparently triggered by a virus.

When diagnosed with a chronic and/or acute illness the psychological effect can be as traumatic as the physical threat. As well as doing my best physically I also  needed to restore my self-worth that in an instant had been stolen from me. I wanted to engage with something purposeful that would benefit me and hopefully others.  To show my gratitude for the wonderful care I was receiving from the Cardiology Department at the Cumberland Infirmary I decided to do some fund raising for them and Cardiomyopathyuk a brilliant support group.

At the same time I had returned to my love of poetry to help in my recuperation and finding myself at home alone instead of talking to the walls I put my feelings down on paper. I had often used words in my choreography because of the rhythm and musicality although I hasten to add I had never taken a class in creative writing. I already had a small private collection of poetry, so I started to organise this and it motivated me into writing more, reflecting on recent events, which I found very therapeutic. The truth is I never stopped writing and was able to self publish 6 little poetry books and raise almost £7000 for various charities. Alongside this I campaigned to save our wonderful NHS and became very involved in politics using poetry to raise awareness of how austerity can affect us when at our most vulnerable. I find it is shared widely across social media and hopefully it can make a difference.

Suzanne Kelsey