Lifters and Leaners

Image of five and ten dollar notes, with the text: Who does the heavy lifting and who just leans on whom?

Lifters and Leaners

Poem by Iris Carden

The phrase "lifters and leaners", divides the bad from good,  
but who does the heavy lifting and who just leans on whom? 

Who provides the labour that makes the economy turn?
And who rakes in the profits, those labourers have earned?

Who helps  lift the poor, out of their poverty?
And who just condemns them for their lack of property?

Who would lift the sick, and help them back to health?
And who would let them die, if they can't pay the bill themselves?

Who would help the depressed feel just a bit less glum?
And who cares about the harried, struggling single mum?

And who would lift the disabled, and help them on their way,
and help to make a safe space, for them to work and play?

Who lifts those who are different, in thought and in appearance?
Who believes that everyone deserves to have a decent chance?

Who will lift an old person who's fallen on the floor?
Who will help someone who's hungry, and needs just a little more?

Who always does their very best, to help all those around
while they find their own problems still always abound?

Who pays all their taxes, hoping to help all those in need,
before that is diverted to subsidise the rich's greed?
Who leans on the poor, who are desperate for work,
and then pays them unfairly, because they're such a jerk?

Who leans on accumulated wealth so they don't have a care,
then minimises taxes so they don't pay their fair share?

Who looks down on the poor, and says they just don't "have a go,"
when they got their own start with inherited dough?

Who leans on the planet, to take all that it can give,
and cares so very little, to leave what we need to live?

Who leans on tired theories, like a "trickle down" economy,
then plugs up tiny leaks and says, "But this is just for me"?

The lifters do their best to help the sick, and frail, and poor,
While the leaners, lean on all of those and yet they still want more.

While lifters do their best to fight for fair conditions, 
Wealthy leaners can just buy favourable politicians.

When politicians moan, please ask them what they mean
when they talk of those who lift and those who merely lean.

By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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