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So lonely stands this poor unburdened beast.
This carrier of sustenance and feast.
Exposed all day to driving rain or sun.
Abandoned once its usefulness is done.

With silver coat or aged to rusty hue,
And mostly is its health check overdue.
Its owner’s name is branded on its hide.
It even has a small saddle to ride.

And each day come the bands of boys and men,
To catch these strays and take them home again.
When pushed it moves with an unsteady gait.
It swerves from side to side towards its fate.

Its master curses it for being lame,
But then finds that the whole herd is the same.
A slave but with a mind all of its own;
It moves along with squeak and clack and groan.

Its ribs are bent and battered from its loads,
And from collisions, kicks and driver’s goads.
When home it joins its fellows in close ranks,
Until its turn to serve with little thanks.

We take for granted and we curse this mule.
The way it is abused is simply cruel.
It carries groceries, a joint to carve.
Without it modern man would surely starve.

In all these years design has hardly changed
Just handle, racks and castors rearranged.
It really is a piece of modern art:
The scorned and slighted supermarket cart.

Copyright © Dennis N. O’Brien, 2011