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The Web Poetry Corner - James Bredin - Wanda on Welfare

Wanda on Welfare


James Bredin

Wanda Weir was a welfare ward; she’d been there all her life,
A single mother with three kids, she would never be a wife.
She had Angie, Angus, Ailish and she soon would have another,
This would get her greater goods and more money like her mother.

She lived in Mason Mansions -- a matriarchal society,
Where hundreds hollered in the halls; no time for propriety,
Wanda modeled her career on her mother who had four,
With no fathers in existence they had food and booze galore.

She knew no one who went to work nor would she even care.
Sometimes she had a man but just a short affair.
And she didn’t need a daddy for these three or four kids,
Some moochers plotting place to play, she didn’t need his bids.

She didn’t need a man to come in and order her about,
Or to holler to his pals, black T-shirt hanging out,
And then go off to jail again and join his many friends,
And all the headaches and emotions with all the odds and ends.

And a man might want to claim that he really was her boss,
And a father to her kids, which could mean an awful loss,
Because all the men that she had known did not have a single pot,
Or anything to put in it, which meant that they had squat.

She had the government of Ontario; they would pay her rent,
And her hydro and her water and heat her apartment,
And then they’d sent a big fat cheque to pay for food and booze,
Or anything she wanted even brand new shoes.

And now her daughter Angie said she might be in that way,
In the family tradition it was just another day,
Doctor said that she was pregnant; time to change career,
From school girl to a single mom within her thirteenth year.

She would join the family custom-- no need to study math --
Another mother of the mansions with the same career path.
The easy life was waiting; she had passed the crucial test:
Pregnant with no father, she could feather her welfare nest.

And no one would dare to question, ‘bout their welfare lives,
‘bout generations of pregnant women who lived the perfect lies,
‘bout these girls not needing husbands nor even going to school,
And the hundreds of welfare children all playing by welfare rules.

And no one ever said a word - it wasn’t politically correct,
‘bout the environment in the mansions and the lives that it had wrecked,
‘bout the girls who all made babies and the boys who went to jails.
statistics screamed the numbers but no one read details.

Because the government social workers were part of the deal,
They too depended on the system and made it appeal,
To pompous politicians who needed only votes,
For peace and good government and then they could gloat.


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