The Third Child, by Frank McMahon

I am not a silent poet

Our state assumes the third child
Needs no food or clothes, shelter
Cot or  toys. Our state assumes
That what is stretched and threadbare
Will go further when moral fibre
Is applied. Our state assumes
That just before you copulate
You both will take appropriate precautions
And bear in mind that for the poor
Conception should be subjected
To rigorous analysis
Of all the costs and benefits.
Our state assumes that for the poor,
The joy of a new-born child, the third,
Should be tempered by poverty and want.

Our state assumes that all the rest
can procreate carefree and have
as many children as they want.
They are the ruling classes after all.

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