"Eaters of Opium" by Vasily VereshchaginA Poem on the Laundering of Drug Money, and Other Poetry by Rod Walford The Society September 17, 2020 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 10 Comments Lucrative On the Laundering of Drug Money As commodities go, you are harmless enough Whether tendered in coin or in crinkly stuff. But without you it seems that the world will not turn Men consort with the devil your favour to earn. They will cheat and deceive, yes, and murder as well And for you more than any damned lies they will tell. Your repose in the hand brings a gleam to the eye Yet because of you many will perish and die. On the drug scene you loiter, malicious and hard Where your influence creeps in an evil facade. And the contraband stained with the taint of your breath May bring joy… then despair… and a premature death. Banks will honour your custom regardless of source With the Privacy Act there is little recourse; “You just cover your traces and we’ll do the same It’s a “dog eat dog” world in this lucrative game.” “You get them all hooked and we’ll all become rich Their lives are expendable—ain’t that a bitch? Too bad for their loved ones—but, oh, what the hell, Blind eyes we will turn if you get them as well!” Though mighty your power, and important your deed, You’re the brother of anguish and mother of greed; Who seek only profit, but count not the cost For the parents who grieve… and the children they’ve lost. ©2020 Rod Walford. Easter Sunday in Otara On Life in Otara, South Auckland, New Zealand He licks a strawberry ice cream as he sits there on the deck The sunshine warms his bruises and the marks upon his neck. His dad is stoned and sleeping and he wonders if in dreams He still hears mummy shouting or his little brother’s screams. It was Easter Sunday morning in Otara The ice cream started melting in the sun. He shared it with his baby sister, Cara While little Rangi chewed a day-old bun. His mum is weeping, blurry-eyed, her swollen face is tender As, half-asleep, her old man stands, still stoned from last night’s bender. His ragged vest is stained with beer and vomit speckled blotches Mum’s silent stare is tinged with hate; she coldly waits…and watches. She looks through grimy windows to a place across the street Where on this Easter morning all the faithful flock to meet. She sees the smiling faces of the ladies dressed in white; She sees the Cross of Jesus shining in the bright sunlight. It hadn’t shone too brightly in the confines of the night When he’d been so brutal with her as her children cried in fright. Yet still she prayed as he performed that God would intercede And teach him love and tenderness … instead of lust and greed. But it was just another morning in Otara The vision started melting in the sun. The ice-cream dripped just like the blood of Jesus And fell on Rangi’s day old hot cross bun. ©2020 Rod Walford. Rod Walford is an Englishman living in Auckland, New Zealand and has been writing poetry for some 25 years. He is a semi-retired diesel fuel injection engineer. He has self-published several books of rhyming poetry including “Timeless,” “Real Poetry for Real Women (written by a man),” and “One Hour before the Dawn.” Access his website here: www.rodwalfordpoetry.com NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to email@example.com. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 10 Responses Sally Cook September 17, 2020 An exceptionally biting, incisive and unusual pair of poems! Very nice to see such fine work. Reply Rod Walford September 17, 2020 Thank you for your kind words Sally – I’m glad you found them incisive as that was my intent. Reply Jeff Eardley September 17, 2020 Thanks Rod. I found these two incredibly moving and so well composed. “Lucrative” highlights this evil trade and the wreckage of so many young lives left behind. Reading the Easter poem, I could hear this being put to music as a classic country song, with the free flowing lyric and twin choruses. I wonder, is Otara a place of social deprivation? I really enjoyed these Rod. Well done. Reply Rod Walford September 17, 2020 Thank you for that Jeff – yes when I reviewed the Easter poem after I’d written it I had the same thought that maybe it could be set to music – but then again who would want to sing it I wonder? Otara is what you might call a “lower socio-economic” region of South Auckland but having said that there are some wonderful people working in and with the community there and it has improved considerably recently. Reply Norma Okun September 17, 2020 Just to say and hopefully not offend that it is the first time that I ever read of the blood of Jesus dripping like ice cream. Reply Susan Jarvis Bryant September 17, 2020 Rod, both of these poems are hard-hitting, heart-touching, and very well imagined. The images you paint of the Easter Sunday in Otara are vivid and oh so sad. It speaks of so many who are victims of domestic abuse and I wonder at the inspiration for this poem. Like Norma, I am taken with melting ice cream simile in the powerful closing couplet. Thank you! Reply Rod Walford September 17, 2020 Thank you so much Susan! The inspiration did not come as a result of any specific event but rather an accumulation of unfortunate circumstances and family disputes that have occurred over the years and the poem was born out of my compassion for those involved. New Zealanders love ice cream (who doesn’t?) and I figured that the consistency of it in its molten state might not be too dissimilar to that of blood. Reply Margaret Coats September 17, 2020 “Lucrative” offers misery, and “Easter Sunday in Otara,” horror. Yet both are well-done pictures that carefully concentrate images, especially the contrasting Easter and horror images in the second poem. Your characteristic command of meter proves essential in getting through them. Reply C.B. Anderson September 18, 2020 We all agree that these two poems were trenchant and gritty. As far as metrical technique goes, I’ve got to hand it to you: In the first with anapests and in the second with iambs, you kept the pace going at a good clip without adhering slavishly to a foot-by-foot (inch-by-inch) serial array of metrical units. I’m sure you know very well the places where (in a metronomic sense) you might have slipped, but you somehow have turned every slip into a smooth glide. I understand very well what it takes for an author to decide to master the form instead of letting his work be formed by some masterplan. Reply Rod Walford September 19, 2020 Thank you C.B. your opinion is always valuable ….. and this one particularly so. 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