THE FARMERS’ STRIKE
© Robyn Sykes

Winner 2013, Timber Festival Poetry Competition, Shoalhaven, NSW.

It’s the news across the nation, from the coastal conurbation
to the reaches where the creatures, like the leeches and the pike,
spread the message to the eagles and the flapping ears of beagles:
yes the farmers - rustic charmers, vermin harmers – are on strike.

For the supermarket giants screwed the prices of their clients
and the reason this was treason was the season, dried and fried.
It was on a cattle station that the strike had its foundation
where a baron known as Sharon thought that Charon’s ferry ride...

...would be far too good an ending for executives whose spending
habits, painful and disdainful, were not gainful longer term.
For though people loved the prices, they were blinded to the vices,
secrets hidden and forbidden, overridden by the firm.

Sharon scrambled from the rubble of the price-war that brought trouble
while the greedy suits with seedy skin and weedy legs took stock.
“When competitors are flattened, then the hatches will be battened,
and we’ll trigger off the bigger plan!” They’ll snigger and they’ll mock...

...shattered shoppers who’ll find dockets with their prices fired by rockets;
see with weary wallets, teary hearts and bleary eyes - they’re stewed.
How much better to buy local, for our farmers are our focal
point. No cropping means no shopping and a whopping lack of food.

You think imports hold the answers? Are they quality enhancers?
Will food purity, security and surety be lost?
Listen! Sharon has a vision, but we need a quick decision
or strike action will gain traction; our inaction has a cost.

Sharon says, “To eat tomorrow and not kick yourself in sorrow,
no excuses, buy the juices and the mousses of our mates.
Tell the mob at Coles and Woolies they’re like scheming schoolyard bullies,
or the crickets in the thickets will have tickets to our plates.”

It’s a question for the nation, from the coastal conurbation
to the reaches where the creatures, like the leeches all replete,
spread the message to the eagles and the flapping ears of beagles:
from the coppers to the boppers, what will shoppers find to eat?

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