In the days of yore when knights were bold
And men were often more than men,
To get employment you had so sell yourself
Into a form of slavery rampant back then.

Instead of ‘slave', they called you ‘serf'
But you were owned like other property,
And your owner could legally kill you
If you did not do your job properly.

But the age of serfdom had to end
And Queen Elizabeth 1 did outlaw,
And English serfs were fully set free
One sweet day in 1574.

But serfdom still did not yet end
It went on till 1799 in Scotland,
When the last Scottish miners were finally
Granted the rights of a free man.

In Austro-Hungry it took a little longer
Till the last serfs were freed in 1848,
And at last Austro-Hungarians of working class
Had genuine cause to celebrate.

In pre-soviet Russia, it lasted till 1861
Then Russian serfs were finally freed,
Though the workers continued in poverty
While the Tzars lived on in obscene greed,

In China, it lasted till 1912
Then the Qing Dynasty came to an end,
And all Chinese were granted
The rights of free women and men.

By 1959 I am told serfdom was thought
To have ended across the entire Earth;
No country was left barbaric enough
To so greatly undermine human worth.

Or so for many years, we all thought
Unaware of an evil man about to find,
Power down in a southern land
A man of instinct, with very little mind.

Though prime minister in the Labor Party
In truth a toadying bosses' man,
For him, no excess could be too great
If it helped him launch his evil Master Plan.

A plan so evil words almost fail
A plan to turn the workers into slaves,
To abolish the union movement in toto
So we'll keep working till our graves.

This evil man is named Paul Keating
A lame federal treasurer if there ever was,
But as prime minister, he was outright evil
Determined to enslave the workers, just because:

Just because his masters in big business said jump
And as he jumped, he asked, "How high?"
And so democracy was pulled away
And the working class were left to sink or die.

In the early 1990s, Keating came to power
He launched a coup against Prime Minister Hawke,
The coup put Bob Hawke out onto the streets
And left Australia to the mercy of this evil dork!

Soon serfdom was introduced into Australia
In the form of Workplace Agreements,
And no-one can work down-under unless they agree
To have their wages cut from dollars to cents.

Workplace "deform" has set right in
Less holidays, less vacations, and more work hours,
Less assistance is allowed now by your union
Who have been subjected to greatly reduced powers.

You have to do a deal with The Devil
In the form of biased employment contacts,
Give up basic workplace rights and agree
To take pennies a day for breaking your back.

But the Devil known as Keating lost power in ‘96
Replaced by a malicious demon named Howard,
Who when it came to fighting the bosses
Was one Hell of a gutless coward.

And in 2008 Howard introduced more slavery
By way of inhuman industrial relations laws,
But the voters were too smart for once
And finally showed Howard to the door.

His party lost government in a landslide
John Howard became the first PM to be voted out;
Not just his party but also losing his own seat
After 107 years of parliament, leaving no doubt:

No doubt the voters had had enough of Liberal extremism
IR Laws designed to strengthen industry's evil might,
So John Howard even lost his own parliamentary seat
On that glorious 2008 December night.

But after eighteen months in power Kevin Rudd's Party
Has done nothing to fight big business's evil clout,
Kevin Rudd has spent most of that time touring the world
And has made no move to wipe serf contracts out!

© Copyright 2021 Philip Roberts
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

About this poem

In the middle ages there was a monstrous form of slavery, where you had to sell yourself to en employer to get work. The employer could then legally whip or even kill you if unsatisfied with your work. Queen Elizabeth, I outlawed this monstrous act called serfdom in 1574. In the mid-1990s a monstrous Australian prime minister, Paul Keating introduced serfdom into Australia in the form of workplace contracts which you now must sign before you can get work.

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Written on March 07, 2009

Submitted by PHIL_ROBERTS on August 15, 2021

Modified on March 05, 2023

3:25 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 3,652
Words 681
Stanzas 23
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3

Phil Roberts

I turn 65 on the 31st of January 2022. I love cats, rock music, and horror fiction and poetry more…

All Phil Roberts poems | Phil Roberts Books

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