In the Human Zoo: a poem about today's society

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In the Human Zoo

by John Hansen © 2014


A good education

will take you far,

minimum wage,

or the local bar.


9 to 5

or graveyard shift,

do you really

get the drift?


A fair day's pay

for a hard day's work.

But the CEOs

get all the perks.


Pay your taxes,

don't complain.

If you don't save

it's down the drain.


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Source

Prices rise

of food and fuel.

Governments treat us

like we're fools.


Ignore the homeless,

they're a blight.

Move them on

out of sight.


The rich get richer,

the poor get less.

Wealth distribution

is a mess.


Do you own a home,

or does the bank own you?

You're just one animal

in the human zoo.

Wealth Inequality in the USA

Wealth inequality is the unequal distribution of money and other assets within a population. The United States exhibits wider disparities of wealth between rich and poor than any other major developed country.

This situation is particularly distressing when we look at the statistics of racial breakdowns. In 2010, the the Economic Policy Institute’s The State of Working America, revealed that the typical white household had a net worth of about 20 times more than the typical African American household and 75 times more than the typical Hispanic household.

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© 2014 John Hansen

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Comments 112 comments

Dip Mtra profile image

Dip Mtra 2 years ago from World Citizen

Socialism message? Very nice poem though.


AngeShearer profile image

AngeShearer 2 years ago from Whangarei, Northland

Short and sweet and to the point great poem fantastic writing well done voted interesting and useful...awesome


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes there certainly is a message here Dip Mtra. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Ange. I thought of making it longer but then I figured short and sharp may have more impact. I appreciate your kind comment and vote up.


AngeShearer profile image

AngeShearer 2 years ago from Whangarei, Northland

Short and sharp yes yes yes


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

Good poetry with good message and arousing awareness. With beautiful images making it more appealing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Venkatachari. I appreciate your kind comment.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

good poem my friend.. clever too voted awesome :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading and the awesome vote Frank. Much appreciated.


ubrish profile image

ubrish 2 years ago from Pakistan(Asia)

Nice and interesting poem .its really unique for me.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you ubrish, I am glad you enjoyed the uniqueness of this poem.


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

Very nice and effective poem and your message can not be missed!

Very well expressed, voted up!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Chitrangada, for reading, commenting and voting up.


Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

Nice rhyme scheme to a topic that hits us right in the pocket book and even deeper into our conscience. Good job.


SAQIB6608 profile image

SAQIB6608 2 years ago from HYDERABAD PAKISTAN

wonderful rhyme with light and short lined poetry.

I love it


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Marie. It did what I intended then. Much appreciated.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you SAQIB, glad you enjoyed this poem.


Eric Flynn profile image

Eric Flynn 2 years ago from Providence, Rhode Island

Income inequality is definitely a subject worth addressing in all mediums. Short yet powerful.

EWF


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Of course I totally agree Eric. Thanks for reading. I appreciate your comment.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

Oh yes to the point and a wonderful read. Voting up John .

Eddy.


ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina

I like the rhyme scheme and how it mirrors the message.I also love the title. Voted up for sure.

Kim


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Eddy, and voting up.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Kim, glad you liked the rhyme scheme, message and title. Thank you.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

Exactly t the point. Then you also have the others side of the coin. If we did not have poverty or low income or no income where would all those wealthy people come from and all the people who love to serve the less fortunate. It is a hard thing in this world, that is for sure. Thanks for the post and the information.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading Lady Guinevere and for that insightful comment.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great poem I just really enjoyed it. The statistics are amazing. I am glad they do not have a category for writers it would be even more shameful.


old albion profile image

old albion 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Jodah. A strong message hear from you. No matter our wealth we should all have a social conscience, unfortunately this is not the case. So many at the top are by accident of birth, in Britain this can at times be so painfully obvious. A nice poem as well so, voted up and all.

Graham.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Eric.. oh yes imagine if there was an income category in the stats for writers..haha..that would certainly be low.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Graham you are right. many of those born wealthy unfortunately don't appreciate the struggle others go through and their social conscience is subsequently lacking. Thank you for reading and your wonderful comment.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Poetry with a political and economic message....my favorite kind of poetry. Yes indeed, we lead the world in this type of inequality...sure is something to be proud of, don't you think? I'm being facetious in case there is someone who thinks I'm serious. Well done, John!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Bill, excuse me for getting on my soapbox too. I appreciate your comment.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

I'm glad to see you write about the disadvantaged here in America. Political satire in poetry fashion is a great way to highlight the problem. Well done my Aussie friend...


dragonflycolor 2 years ago

To the point, and very descriptive of the subject matter here. Inequality is engrossed in all facets of the zoo we live in. Thanks, Jodah!


btrbell profile image

btrbell 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Wow! Definitely up, interesting and awesome!

I loved the poem! What a sad world we live in.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

John, you've shown that poetry can be a very effective vehicle for a powerful message. Well done.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

You've got it in one! Superb poem and statistics to back up the problem.

A human zoo is exactly what it looks like as some people are treated no better than animals or even worse. What's the matter with these governments? They do nothing except look after themselves and, worst of all, they don't listen.

Rant over! Just the same in Britain though.

Enjoy your day!

Ann


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 2 years ago from Louisiana

Great job and too true.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Yep, these times they are a changing and not necessarily for the good.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Ruby, I feel poetry is my most effective tool for getting my political or social message across. Thanks for your support.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading Dragonfly..there should be a law against inequality :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks btrbell...it is sad that nothing is being done to fix the problems.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Jo, and your continued support. We all have to spread this message as best we can to change things for the better.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Ann, thanks for reading another of my hubs. It's the same here in Australia and getting worse by the day. We have to find a way to make the Government's listen. I thought in democracies the will of the majority of people was supposed to mean something.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Nikki, I appreciate your comment and agreement.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Shauna, so we have to start to change them for "the good". We need to force the Government's worldwide to listen to the power of the people not the big corporations.


Tolovaj profile image

Tolovaj 2 years ago

I like the song and the message. As somebody who was born in socialism, where 'everybody is equal, just some are more equal than others', and experiencing the capitalism in its fundamental, primitive form, I can only say, there is no much difference. Government works for government in both cases, rich want to be richer in both cases, and poets write songs, which is probably one of the best parts of life anyway ...

Thanks, Jodah, for your food for thought!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading Tolovaj and for your insightful comment. You are right that these social injustices etc at least give poets and writers material for their works.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 2 years ago from Mesa, AZ

Yes. In fact, it seems to be getting worse.


travmaj profile image

travmaj 2 years ago from australia

Well said and straight to the point. I like the zoo connection - makes a great deal of sense - perhaps we are all in our cages waiting for the next catastrophe - got your message loud and clear.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading travmaj. Yes to me it feels like we are stuck in our cages just reliant on the Government and Big Business to care for us as they think best and throw us a few scraps now and then. Someone needs to free the animals and see what happens.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

What a creative title and your poem is just as creative and unique expressing your message.

It seems that the mindset is Me, Me, Me ... and forget about others who may need our help ...although I do know of many wonderful people who truly love others with compassion and selflessly.

Blessings


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

You are one of those selfless people Faith. Thank you for your kind words, glad you liked the title too. When I was researching pics, songs, books etc on "human zoo' I was quite shocked with what I found. Maybe I'l write an article on that different aspect of the term in future. Blessings back.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

The rich get rich and the poor get poorer. There's actually a song about this. Fantastic Jodah and loved the title! Sharing like mad. - Audrey


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Audrey, and I appreciate the sharing. What's the name of that song?


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

They tell you it means something, they'll make a difference, if you vote for them, then they do exactly as they please.... and so it goes on!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Ann, a lie is a lie is a lie.. you can't trust them to do what is right.


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

You did a great job in "telling it like it is"! I've lived long enough to see the Human Zoo in action, and your message is so correct.

Voted UP, etc. and shared.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Mary. I couldn't think of a better way to describe society other than a "zoo". Glad you can relate and agree with my point of view. Thanks for the vote up and share too.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 2 years ago from Taos, NM

The human zoo - great metaphor with a strong and true message. Well done - I like your poem and the message you send. Too bad the message is so true.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

The poem is a good format in which to present the harsh realities of the "human zoo." You just keep getting better at your craft. Thanks for the additional facts also.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Yes, I think your idea about another hub on that aspect of the term would be intriguing to say the least, especially being you have already done a lot of research. Here, your choice of the Commodores' song and video is perfect. Love the pics too. Thank you for your kind words here. Blessings always


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading another of my hubs Suzette. Glad you liked the metaphor, and yes I too wish this wasn't a true reflection of society.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I greatly appreciate your encouraging words MsDora, thank you for reading another of my poems. Glad you enjoyed the experience.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

Its amazing how you manage to take a few words and mold them into such a meaningful poem! There are so many truths here it almost hurts. Your pictures are so a part of the whole picture (excuse the redundancy). The question here would be are we the animals in the cage or the visitors at this zoo?

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Great to get that insightful comment from you Mary. I wish this poem was just a parody of society but alas it is fact. That is a good question, but I am sad t say that I think we are the animals in the cage. Thanks for the vote up too.


peoplepower73 profile image

peoplepower73 2 years ago from Placentia California

I love the poem and the video. I look at what we are going through is much like during the medieval period. The politicians, corporations, and big moneyed interests have formed alliances. They are like the royalty of the middle ages. The rest of us are like serfs serving indentured servitude to them. They operate to serve their own interest under the guise of democracy, but their campaigns are funded by the royalty and they are only beholden to each other. They do not represent the people because the people can not fund their campaigns. Great hub, keep up the good work. Voting up interesting and sharing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you peoplepower73. That is a very good comparison between the present society ad that of the Medieval period. I agree it is very much the same as Royalty vs serfs all over again. Thanks for the vote up and share too.


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 2 years ago from Somewhere in the West

This was spectacular Jodah :) i love the poem

~~~ keep up the good work ~~~


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

The name of the song is "Ain't we got fun" written in the early 30's. "Every morning, every evening, ain't we got fun. Not much money, oh but honey, ain't we got fun. The rent's unpaid dear, we haven't a dime, but that's okay dear,we're hav'in good times. The rich get rich and the poor get poorer, etc. etc. Youtube most likely has it in their library. :)


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

There's are several major messages there, John.

The line about CEOs reminds me of a particular CEO of a multinational corporation (for which I worked nearly a quarter of a century) whose terrible decisions nearly ruined the company and tanked the stock. While his idiocy financially hurt thousands of employees who weren't responsible for the problems, Mr. CEO got his 'golden parachute.' Loaded down with $$$--a buy-out of his contract, stock options that would be worth millions after someone else rescued the company, and many other perks (instead of being fired as he should have been), the last I heard of him...he took his monetary spoils, moved to California, married a young trophy wife and started a vastly different 'new age' type career....which he could well afford to do on the $$$ earned by employees much farther down the corporate ladder.

I went through that long tale to illustrate my opinion that there are very few CEOs (if any) who are actually worth their huge compensation packages while 'regular' employees take pay cuts, lose benefits or--even worse--get downsized.

Voted Up+++

Jaye


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Good to see you LadyFiddler, glad you liked this poem. I will try my best :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for that info Audrey. It is perfect for the theme here. I will do a YouTube search.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for sharing that Jaye. Why does that story seem so familiar.. It seems to be a common story of hugely overpaid CEOs bringing companies to their knees and still walking away with millions and onto the next job. A few years ago I thought I heard Barack Obama say we was going to put a maximum ceiling on CEOs pay..did that ever come to fruition? Even if they did I'm sure they would just be given more perks as in shares, property etc.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for combining your poetry with a very important social message, Jodah. The title of the hub is very appropriate!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading Alicia and for the kind comment. The idea for the title hit me first and I wrote a poem to suit. Glad you enjoyed it.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Great one! Your message is direct and clear. You have chosen another wonderful idea. Loved it! Voted up and interesting and useful.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Devkia, thank you for your encouragement and kind words. Glad you enjoyed this and thanks too for the vote up.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

That was an outstanding poem, and I wholeheartedly agree with the message. When more and more working people support the media agents of the elite like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc., talk show hosts that you may or may not be familiar with down in Australia, I scream at them to quit cutting their own throats but no one listens. The recent election results here demonstrated quite clearly that the 1% has us duped and it is not going to get better anytime soon. Great hub!


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

Sweet with a simple straightforward message! Loved it!


Harishprasad profile image

Harishprasad 2 years ago from India

If a common man finds it too difficult to get even his basic needs, we may imagine the extent of his miserable existence. John, no wards can describe it better than this very creative poem. You have said in a few words what tomes try to divulge going to great lengths. Voted up.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Mel for your kind comment. Here it is the radio 'shock jocks' like Alan Jones and the Rupert Murdoch run newspapers that control the power. The three richest people in the country, two mining magnates and one media empire leader have as much money as the bottom 75% of the population or something crazy, yet the Government has been trying to bring in cuts to social security, increase university fees, and cuts to education and health spending, defence force wages etc. Also huge companies like Apple, Google etc are making huge profits in Australia and paying virtually no tax through off shore havens and write offs. It's crazy.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Suhail, glad the message came across clearly and you agree. Have a great day.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

I appreciate your kind comment as always Harish. These words need to be said as often as possible so that one day the people and the Governments of the world may take notice. Thanks for the vote up.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

If you are passionate about the message in this hub check the links above for a wonderful hub by Iris Draak called "Slaying Dragons".


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Education can be a great equalizer, a path to rise from poverty (although not always -- because it's not enough simply to be educated. You have to choose wisely and sometimes make very difficult decisions.) People need to find ways to take back their personal, social and economic independence.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for your insightful comment Flourish. We certainly do need to find a way.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

John, I am cheering this poem. Your photos add volumes to this distressful dynamic. The last recession/depression taught corporations to hang on even tighter to their bottom lines and profits. Interesting since they helped create the mess to begin with – especially the financial services industry that continues to maneuver the purse strings. They wanted “too big to fail” and they got it with the repeal of Glass Steagal in the US.

We are no longer a world of countries, territories and boundaries…but dollars, yen, dinars, euros, and so forth.

I see this every day. The Middle Class has been dissolving. I still believe that better education is key toward a better solution. We must begin with awareness. Voted way up, and shared.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Very good write, Jodah. I could repeat all that Genna said, however, she says it well and I agree with her.

Up, I and H+


taiwokareem profile image

taiwokareem 2 years ago from Salford

well thought of, well written


Anthony Altorenna profile image

Anthony Altorenna 2 years ago from Connecticut

Powerful message, and one you won't see on the mainstream news stations. Reminds me of another song:

"Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king, and a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything..."


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for your insightful comment Genna. I agree with everything you said. Yes we need to increase education and awareness so things can be turned around. I appreciate the vote up and share.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you as always Phyllis, your support is always appreciated. yes Genna covered it all well.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading taiwokareem, and for the kind comment.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Exactly Right Anthony, mainstream media is a big corporation and one of those at fault. That song verse says it perfectly. Thanks for sharing.


taiwokareem profile image

taiwokareem 2 years ago from Salford

ita a pleasure Jodah


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 24 months ago

The poem was beautiful. I liked the Commodore video, unless that was FF they could really dance. That information very useful and interesting John. I voted it up, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Kevin, glad you liked the poem and found the information interesting. Thanks for the vote up, share and pin.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 24 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Kevin, glad you liked the poem and found the information interesting. Thanks for the vote up, share and pin.


Arachnea profile image

Arachnea 23 months ago from Texas USA

A very nicely done poem, Jonah. I like that you touch on several different aspects of the problem. I think your layout works well with the poem and then the support materials. I've missed stopping in to read your poetry.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for the kind comment Arachnea. Glad you enjoyed this, and you are welcome to stop by whenever you have the time.


Randy Horizon profile image

Randy Horizon 21 months ago from Philadelphia

Great poem Jodah with a real message. Love the title and the stats to back up your poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 21 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Randy. It's an important issue that concerns me. The statistics are disturbing aren't they?


Buildreps profile image

Buildreps 17 months ago from Europe

Great poem, and the message is clear and absolutely true.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 17 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

I appreciate your visit to my hub Buildreps, your kind comment etc. Thanks for reading my message.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 9 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Timely topic when it was written, and even more timely now, especially for us here in the USA where the political sifting process is supposed to set national goals for going forward. A thinker's read.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading . Unfortunately this seems forever timely and things don't seem to change no matter who is in charge. I do ty to promote thinking in my poetry. Glad it worked in this. Cheers.


Bella Sames profile image

Bella Sames 9 months ago from UK

Brilliant! It is great to see another Hubber who spreads awareness through poetry about Society. I salute you and your skills. A great read and very enlightening :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 9 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for the encouraging comment Bella. Yes, I find poetry the most effective vehicle for spreading social commentary and trying to give my opinion as to how to make the world a better place. I will be over to check your hubs soon.


Stella Kaye profile image

Stella Kaye 7 months ago

All so very true. You've said so much in just a few words. I love the photo at the beginning.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this Stella. It is amazing what you can say in just a few words if the issue is important enough to you. Poetry is good for that. Have a great day/night/weekend.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 7 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Jodah.....LOVE the poem. Great rhythm, catchy rhyme.....enjoyed the video and appreciate the stats! All in all a Fabulous page!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey, Paula. Thanks for reading and the great comment. Glad you enjoyed this hub, poem and stats. Have a great weekend.

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