Out Of The Workhouse

As Victorian Britain’s empire
prospered in trade from its
scattered colonies those distant
governments sought European
settlers to clear and farm
rich soil for crops and herds
offered assisted passages for
labourers and families to
cross the vast oceans.

Scandinavian councils cleared
parishes of surplus young
men and couples prolifically
breeding dependent children
forcing them to accept passages
with deposits paid to a distant
land or accept harsh living
at home. Fare deposits cost
less than a lifetime’s upkeep.

For three months they sailed
to a distant land with a foreign
language to hack out farm
clearings from thick forest
on allocated land living
in rough shacks, tents,
toiling dawn to dusk daily.

No fares were paid to
return to families, homes
or a familiar tongue
in their own home land.

Previously posted September 2017.

Out Of The Workhouse

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