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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Greasing the Wheels"

This is today's second freebie, courtesy of Dreamwidth user Ailelie, a new prompter.  It was inspired by a prompt from ellenmillion.  I got to thinking about baksheesh  and how Egyptians have a whole different view of bribery.  To them, it isn't corruption: it's lubrication.  It stands to reason that the Empire would see certain things the same way -- and the licensing fees may have evolved partly from this.

Greasing the Wheels

No one thinks what a millstone feels
Grinding the grain between the wheels.

No one thinks of a bureaucrat
Pushing papers so smooth and flat.

Think of what makes the world go 'round,
Keeping the wheels from making sound.

A little grease goes a long way;
So do the bribes that people pay.

It isn't fraud; it isn't graft;
It is the bureaucrat's true craft.

It's nothing but a little gain,
Greasing the wheels that grind the grain.

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Current Mood: busy busy

5 comments or Leave a comment
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: August 3rd, 2011 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
*giggle* <3
ellenmillion From: ellenmillion Date: August 3rd, 2011 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 4th, 2011 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm glad you like it. I'll submit this to the Canon Board when I have time.
paka From: paka Date: August 3rd, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
You know that medieval commoners tended to hate the miller - and avoid taking their grain to the mill, instead eating it as mash - because the miller was allowed to take some of the grain as his payment, right?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 3rd, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC) (Link)


Sometimes. It depended on the country and time period, and the people, and their local customs. If they had a good relationship -- and weren't being nearly starved to death -- that arrangement worked out just fine. Other times, not so much, and the issue you pointed out wasn't the only one. Some millers would cut the flour with sawdust. That tended to get them ridden out of town on a rail if the villagers caught them, but it still happened.
5 comments or Leave a comment