Fruits Of Labour


He came from the depths

of dark days.


Grandparents of unfulfilled dreams

passed pain to parents

as they strove for better

for their offspring:

materialistic emphasis

getting on

building a new world


of personal sacrifice.


Fear of ‘not enough’

caused his parents

to strive harder:

always doing… doing

avoiding… avoiding

their own needs


discontent surfaced

marriage collapsed

life shattered




Confused     hurt     angry

he rebelled:

played truant from school

ran with gangs

who carried weapons

threatened suicide

and his mother’s life

with a knife.


He chose alcohol

as his vehicle of destruction

the anaesthesia for his rage

and the excuse

for its explosion.


Long-haired and tattooed

he joined a mate

of similar demeanour:

stole a car

drove it while unlicensed


under the influence

ignored red lights


and planted foot

when police pursued.


He emerged

from holding cells

days later

black-eyed     fat-lipped


from metal round wrist

to post

while body flung down stairs

nose broken in two places.


He emerged

with eight serious charges

to the arms     and wrath

of his pregnant

teenage girlfriend.


He came from the depths

of darkness

and moved into the depths

of despair.


c. Kathryn Coughran


First published: 1994

In: Family Matters (Kathryn Andersen)


3 thoughts on “Fruits Of Labour”

    1. Hi Sallyanne… Thank you for your interest.
      Yes, this is from my book Family Matters, which was published in 1994. This book is currently out of print, but it will soon be available on disc and as an eBook. This poem is the first of a sequence of nine poems about a young family going through the jail experience. The second of these poems will be on this site later today. I hope you enjoy the sequence… Cheers Kathryn

      1. Hello again Sallyanne… I forgot to mention two things in my reply to you. The first is that Family Matters was published when my name was Kathryn Andersen… and the second is that the original poem has been slightly edited for this website posting and in preparation for future publications of the original material. Hope this added information is useful. Cheers. Kathryn.

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