Poems

They Pounced at Dawn

Honestly, my wife, not one of my forefathers
Nor I have ever once traded with money.
Our ancestors always had camels,
And I got my share from the camel raids.
Only once I ventured where my father never went.
I loaded the camels; it took four nights to reach the village.
The minute I got to the gate of Burco with my goods,
The brokers pounced as if they knew I was coming.
As dawn broke, the sheepsellers set upon us.
Godless men gathered against us.
I was struck dumb when they prodded the sheep.
'It's worth this much', 'No it isn't', they haggled bluntly.
Their squabbling distressed me.
I trusted the man with the squint but he cheated me.
They tried to placate me with less than four shillings,
While I watched the hands that swindled me.
As for the sheep you're all asking about, they are now with
   men
Who deserve to be strung up on thorns by their heels.
All I was left with was rags and a stick.
Some men know more about money than me. Ask them!

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