Amid the many labours
Hercules accomplished
Did he not pause to consider
Our modern urban grind?

Once born you are a slave
To feed and wash and clothe
To shoe and shelter then transport
The body and to train
Brain and limb to learn a living trade
Solely to support
Such numerous physical needs

To serve and serve again
This self-same cycle
To our children’s children’s
Children knowing all
Must end in a lifeless stare
The body folded in a box
The box consigned to flames

Acceptance of such destiny alone
Is this not the true ‘heroic’?

Or as ironic Tacitus recorded
‘They spoke of a novelty
Named ‘civilization’
Unaware this was merely
One more feature of their slavery’



Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer








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