Corruption is a reality of our current world. Every year when I update my What influences foreign direct investment into Africa report, I am amazed again at the corruption figures that are presented in the Transparency International Corruption Index. Countries that I really would expect to be much higher up the list, lurk down near the bottom, wallowing in corruption and greed. It is very sad for the general populations of these countries that are totally neglected and ignored by the very people who they put their trust and faith in. Corruption is very widespread and has infiltrated into the very fabric of our society, it seems.

I wrote the following poem to express my feelings about the corruption that I see and  I hear about daily in the news, both locally and abroad. While the setting is African, as I believe you will be the most successful with writing if you write about what you know, the sentiment applies to our environment as a whole.

One for me, none for you

A mammoth structure;

It dominates the rise;

A tribute to corruption,

Ill gotten gains and lies.


Luxurious cars gleam;

A dozen – or more;

Fast and sleek, they hint;

At what is in store.


Adorned with art;

A magnificent hall;

Ornate vases and statues;

Loom up – proud and tall.


Tea and cake is served;

Cups plated with gold;

A multitude of servants;

Uniforms bright and bold.


A story begins to unfold;

Told with arrogance and pride;

A tale of self enrichment;

The listeners beguiled.


The audience like insects;

Trapped in a golden lair;

The flow of silky words;

Attempts minds to ensnare.


At last – the flow dwindles;

This self indulgent river;

The opportunity is taken;

To escape – with a shiver.


On route back home;

Time to sit and reflect;

Youthful beggars flash by;

Their budding lives wrecked.


The gluttonous  excesses;

Left further behind;

The contrast so stark;

Its seems quite designed.


Humanity we pray;

For a future that’s bright;

We cannot afford;

To give up this fight.

by Robbie Cheadle


5 thoughts on “One for me, none for you – a poem about corruption

  1. I so resonate with your thoughts…..the sense of privilege and entitlement of those living at that level is horrible, and when one sees their excess, gained on the backs of the poor everywhere, it is so unjust. I often think of the statement by Benjamin Creme: “There can be no peace without social justice.” But the rich, and the huge corporations, are too unwilling to pay their share and governments too afraid to make them. Sigh.


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