Last penny for the ferryman

Rents are rising in a steep curve of ‘make money while the planet dies’

here in Glasgow capitalism dances on the future graves of those protesters who care

enough still to rail at those who have until now showed no sign of caring at all

in whose feathered nests no fucks are given for now or for the then that might not come


Meanwhile, across the veil, on this Samhain eve, there is a housing crisis in purgatory

where waves of those recently ancestored and hallowed by the plague have swept across the border

in search of a better life than that from which they were unceremoniously dumped

alone and bereft of any lasting sense of having been alive at all in that dying firmament of unraveling noise


So here we stand at the precipice, calling out in anger at those who live in the dark of the daytime

as those who have moved into the dark of no more scramble for a roof and a bed for the night

uncared for in death as much as they were in their lives, invisible elders to us all for always

unseen in their long, hard fought for living and now in their turmoil, invisible unto themselves


This all hallows eve will be a grim night on both sides of the divide, poetically mirroring our doomed now

the dead will not come out to play tonight because that generation died unseen and unknown to us

and in that passing, seemingly the blink of an eye, they became the last ones to cross, the last ancestors

and we who remain must live with the truth that we fully deserve this loss and that now it is too late to change.

It is Samhain eve here in Scotland, a time of deep reflection into the darkness that comes. Submitting to the Samhain prompt at earthweal and one for All Souls.

24 thoughts on “Last penny for the ferryman

  1. SelmaMartin says:

    Our reality has reached the point where it can no longer be contested as ‘not real/fake’ but there are still those who haven’t awakened to it.
    It’s my hope that they do soon and that they choose to donate their gains for the common good of righting things.
    Your piece is a perfect mirror of how the majority of us here feel. Lovely. We are standing at the precipice.
    Thanks so much for being a strong resounding voice for us.
    Xoxo

  2. Suzanne says:

    A truly chilling poem to this All Hallows Eve in the time of our unmaking. (Rents are rising here in Australia too – people tell me it is the same in many countries. I like the explanation you give for this in your opening lines.)

  3. Sherry Marr says:

    Paul, lovely to read you again. I recall the ferryman in the poem we penned together at Toads. I share your angst and, I am afraid, your lack of hope about the future, given extraction capitalism’s voracious maw. Sigh. Come peek next Monday at earthweal when I will be talking about the Disappearing of so many species, as we carry on oblivious to the loss.

    • paul scribbles says:

      The Glasgow rent issue is primarily a COP26 thing….lots of people wanting to be in Glasgow to protest and so forth, and landlords taking advantage…kinda ironic that a climate change conference/gathering should demonstrate so vividly how greed it still at play in a significant way. We are just not learning.

  4. M says:

    yes, it’s too late, but of some note, a very large investment group has called on the Big 4 auditors to step the hell up on accurate accounting for the potential exposure of companies’ balance sheets to climate change and legal action.

    if change is to occur, it has to include the engines that run rampant over the earth. else, naught will happen for the good.

    a faint hope. but still, there is one. ~

    • paul scribbles says:

      Hey M. Thanks once again for the visit. Investment groups calling time on accurate accounting is way overdue….but does a call always get met with an answer? Food for thought.
      I am always minded of this quote, when hope is in the air.

      “Hope is very often a refusal to know what is so, and steadfastly it is a refusal to live as if the present moment is good enough and all we really have. Hopeless is the collapse of that refusal, and it looks a lot like depression”
      ― Stephen Jenkinson, Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul.

      • M says:

        Hm. Say you are driving and miss your turn. Isn’t saying you hope to u-turn ahead not a denial of the present moment, but a recognition that the presnt path isn’t the direction you want to go? So saying we hope for a change in direction not denying the present calamity, but acceptance of it, and yet also admitting the possibility of another way?

      • paul scribbles says:

        Possibly…although I don’t think that u turn requires much in the way of hope…I think the truth in the quote is that we do not know where we are headed ( even though we think we do) in any given moment and so living in the present, as if that were true offers a way of truly living and requires no hope for a future we can never really know. Like I said, food for thought.

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