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His Dark Materialism -

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
This is a weighty subject indeed, too big for a simple blog to do justice to. Where to start? Random musings.....Maslow's hierarchy? Religion and the rise of capitalism? The fact that 7% of the population owns 84% of the wealth? Civilisation and its discontents? Letters to Santa? Bloody hell...
Money can't buy you love, though the love of money is, reputedly, the root of all evil. It can buy well-being, security, status. But beyond that, do human beings have an 'acquisitive' gene? Why this escalating getting of possessions? Is it because we're bored? Missing some deeper satisfaction in our lives? Shoring up fragments against our ruin? Looking to challenge time and death by surrounding ourselves with totems of worth and permanence? So many questions, so few answers.
I wrote today's poem in response to the way that commerce has transformed the country's capital and its inhabitants over the time I have known it. I lived in London for many years [until it became too expensive to do so!] and have watched beautiful areas of civilised architecture and real community get bastardised or bulldozed to build more and bigger shops, stores, mega-malls. The scale is ridiculous. The need is questionable. The profit for the developers is obscene. 'Retail therapy' rules!
I've titled it simply London, partly in a nod to William Blake's own scathing poem to the city he loved...
London
  
Dirty city,
wet with disillusion,
you gleam through the grime
but you're rotten to the core.
Backbone of the nation,
you have cancer of the spine
and it spreads its infestation
from each market-stall to store,
down the length of every high street
to your bright satanic malls.
These scars that mar your fading glory
tell a sorry tale:
your breath of wealth is stale,
your winking
'come and buy' window-eyes
are glazed
and when our want outstrips our need
we stumble numbly
through your gaudy, soulless maze,
dazed and poisoned by our woeful greed.
Thanks for reading. Have a good week-end - enjoy some simple pleasures :-)
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