Social Notes II, 1935
F.R. Scott, F.R. Scott: Selected Poems (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1966): 71-73.
1The efficiency of the capitalist system
2Is rightly admired by important people.
3Our huge steel mills
4Operating at 25 per cent of capacity
5Are the last word in organization.
6The new grain elevators
7Stored with superfluous wheat
8Can unload a grain-boat in two hours.
9Marvellous card-sorting machines
10Make it easy to keep track of the unemployed.
11There isn't one unnecessary employee
12In these textile plants
13That require a 75 per cent tariff protection.
14And when our closed show factories re-open
15They will produce more footwear than we can possibly buy.
16So don't let's start experimenting with socialism
17Which everyone knows means efficiency and waste.
18Her travail now over
19And her brood gone far away
20This old woman of fifty
21Must go charring at $2 a day.
22Have you ever noticed
23How many members of religious orders
24Who have taken perpetual vows
27Now spend their time defending private property
28And urging the poor to have large families?
29The Soviet ship from Leningrad to London
30Was called the Co-operation,
31But to reach democratic Canada
32I travelled by the Duchess of Richmond.
33In tonight's newspaper
34There were two protests:
35One by an Archbishop
36Against the spread of communism,
37And one by an unemployed man
38Who said his children were sleeping four in a bed
39To keep warm.
40After the strike began
41Troops were rushed
42To defend property.
43But before the trouble started
44Nobody seems to have bothered
45To defend living standards.
46There is nothing like hard times
47For teaching people to think.
48By a decisive vote
49After discussing all the issues
50They have turned out the Conservatives
51And put back the Liberals.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
Copyright © the estate of F. R. Scott. Included
with the generous permission of William Toye, his literary executor.