Value, a poem


I'm a trinket for a diplomat to woo the Sublime Port.
I'm a lot condemned for auction at an Admiralty Court.
I am a talking instrument legated in a will.
I'm the sword that cuts the master's head as blood begins to spill.

I'm a portion of a tribute, payment rendered as a tax.
I'm an item in a ledger, an impression stamped in wax.
I'm an entry from a registry, a line in a log book.
I'm the thunder and the lightning as the winter palace shook.

I'm a nanny's little girl held in check with bonds of debt.
I'm an invisible drudge, I'm the proceeds of a bet.
I'm a silent standing statue placed at an opulent hall,
and the whisper of the guillotine, as heads begin to fall.

I'm a pair of lips that kissed the feet which held them in despair.
I'm the pair of legs that run for traders sitting on a chair.
I'm a pair of agile hands that built your latest mobile phone.
I'm a scourge that breaks the chains, a pirate flag of blood and bone.

I'm a cry of buy or sell, a symbol standing for a stock.
I'm the burning flesh of seamstresses all murdered by a lock.
I'm the miner digging to my death to make my owners rich.
I'm the cold plantations ashes and white corpses in a ditch.

I'm a subject for research, a discarded broken toy.
I'm a golden tooth, I'm organs taken from a nameless boy.
I'm a pile of hands. I'm missing rubber. I'm depleted wells
and I'm the red starred T32s attacking with their shells.

In the language of accountants you can read my bloodless tale.
In the signs of wealth and hunger you can pierce my cunning veil.
In the books, for every number where the black ink has been shed
there shall always come an answer, which in balance shall be red.