Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Unlucky Number

Twenty-six people
own as much wealth as
the poorest half of the world's population,
as three point eight billion humans.

Twenty-six people:
one for every letter of the alphabet.
Picture them all from A to Zed,
think them arms and legs and heads.

According to the Guinness Book of Records,
they could all fit into a Mini Cooper,
although admittedly,
it would be a tight squeeze.

If one came into your house
every fifty-five minutes
then within just one day
they would all be there.

Twenty-six people.

Two rugby league teams,
a baker's two dozen,
the number of fortnights in one year,
red cards in a deck,
counties in the Republic of Ireland,
miles in a marathon,
faces of a rhombicuboctahedron.

The number of lines in this poem so far.

Twenty-six people.
Last year it was forty-three,
the year before it was sixty-one,
falling, showing
inequality growing.

Twenty-six diamond-encrusted crabs
on a beach of three point eight billion
grains of sand.

Count them and rage.

© Janine Booth

World's richest get richer while planet's poorest get poorer, new Oxfam report shows

Janine lives in Hackney, East London. She writes and performs poetry, and has had three slim volumes of poetry published. Janine posts poems and political polemics on her website.