(Note:  When Sandy wrote this poem, the government agency in charge of unemployment insurance and certain kinds of training for unemployed people was called “Manpower.”)

* * *

Rejected you were
by family, school,
and the closed world of work.
Delicately, like a swan,
you sailed into the street,
and sank beneath the violence and despair.

Manpower, procurer of work-units,
has sent you back to school.
You come as one who grasps a dubious raft
in the world’s shipwreck.

Who is to tell you that there are few jobs?
Who is to tell you that we’ve never had enough,
that we’ve been kept like horses in a barn
by our own rich who gain from our distress?
Who is to tell you that a grade ten education
is really good for nothing?
That, having raised your hopes,
your country will abandon you again,
and send you sailing, like a crippled swan,
into the street.

~ Sandy Cameron


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