NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 7: Filthy Lucre–Dropped Bills, Three Vignettes

Dropped Bill

It falls so easily from open purse or pocket,
unnoticed as you walk away;
and yet to the one who finds it,
such a gift.
A mere surprise, perhaps, baksheesh,
or a next meal they otherwise may have gone without.
Such a small joy for whomever finds it,
whether they pass it on or spend it soon.
Well worth letting a fiver drop by accident,
now and then, like a beneficent God
waiting to see what will happen.

Dropped Bill II

What passes more quickly or more often from hand to hand,
or has more life in it: oil from the fish and chips it purchased,
dirt from the field, lost signs of love?
Everything in life is pressed into the bills we pay
for most of what sustains us.
Yet we call it filthy lucre
as though these signs of life are bad.
Perhaps Shakespeare coined the term, regarding Shylock’s usury.
We’ll look it up after—both you and me.
But even if I’m right, now that I’ve written this verse and you have read it,
Bill Shakespeare may no longer have complete dominion
over our connotation of the term.

Dropped Bill III

King James version of The Bible (Titus 1:10-11), For there are many unruly and vain talkers and     deceivers . . . Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which  they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

Who knew there was a book in the Bible called Titus?
Not me, though I won the prize, week after week,
for learning the most verses in Sunday School.
True, I’ve forgotten much of what I once knew;
but I was a child who loved money,
hoarding my quarter allowance
in a large blue piggy bank,
and so I doubt an allusion to filthy lucre
would have passed me by,
even without Google to look up the word.
Surely some motivated teacher would have defined the word.
Then I would have known that the term “filthy lucre” was Biblical,
and let Shylock off the hook ever after–
applying it, ironically, to those like politicians
who, for the sake of filthy lucre,
do not pass bills.

The Prompt: Write about money! It could be about not having enough, having too much (a nice kind of problem to have), the smell, or feel, or sensory aspects of money. It could also just be a poem about how we decide what has value or worth.

To find out more about NaPoWriMo, go here:

3 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo 2015, Day 7: Filthy Lucre–Dropped Bills, Three Vignettes

  1. lifelessons Post author

    Alas, our reward will come, perhaps in heaven. No paycheck for learning Bible verses for me, either, although I did get paid for teaching–in nice clean automatic deposits to my bank account.



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