Jennifer Johnson


Having worked for the very rich
I cannot envy them.
They seem so unhappy.
They never have to scrabble around
for a few needed pounds,
have never learnt how
to extract those last drops
of juice from limited fruit,
how to fully taste them.

Nothing seems right for the very rich.
They seem restless, full of complaint,
their expensive food and drink
soured by untrusting conversation,
the contempt they sense
from poorly paid waiting staff.
They look so bored on holiday,
have somehow lost that
life-enhancing sense of joy.

The very rich seem happy only
when calculating what’s needed
to become, and remain, the richest.
Not much money I’m afraid
they tell their staff. You rather
have to learn to live off the land!
The very rich have little time to read,
or simply experience our wonder
at the sheer scale of the universe.

Jennifer Johnson was born in Sudan and has worked in Zambia. Footprints on Africa and Beyond relates her experience there. She lives in North London and works as a freelance writer.