Impeding our own progress – a sestina

Impeding our own progress
by Howard Gaukrodger

Like a piece of a jigsaw, we aim to fit,
yet we know there’s an issue – we’ve seen it before.
How can you tackle it? My job is too precious.
Oh, the bosses will deal with it; they’re paid for that here.
E-mails are sent, discreetly of course, to convene a new meeting.
The manager arrives and reveals the quintessence of mediocrity.

You learn to excel, igniting emotion, illuminating mediocrity.
So scoffing begins, then festering gossip – fit
only for the contagion of meaningless meetings.
The manager stubs the insinuating ink before
her: “We don’t do things like that here”.
Feeling their knife in your back, you had thought integrity precious.

The clients are happy and chorus their precious
thanks for your outstanding work that overcomes mediocrity.
Yet, we see in this fragile hierarchy here
vociferous protest that does not befit
those with now blemished records. The fiction before,
now failure, can hurt on their meeting.

Technology drives are fuel for anger. The meeting
of wisdom and youth must blend in a precious
mortar of corporate skills before
damage is done by management mediocrity.
Our sight is impaired by stubborn behaviour unbefitting
the goals and aspirations of enterprise here.

Appraisals and improvisation of quality controls are well known here –
stifling innovative thought like meandering meetings
that foster processes aimed only to fit
the requirements of public obfuscation, devoid of precious
endeavour. Accountability is blasphemy in the world of mediocrity;
taxpayers will foot the bills, but this has been said before.

The wonderland of politics prevails before
Finance or Popularity raises its head to influence here
and there the apathetic, soon punished for their agenda of mediocrity.
The cauldron of life expounds our myths, while the meeting
of virtuous minds struggles for recognition of precious
values and actions, often mocked and concealed by the unfit.

Precious human progress capitulates to the stampede of technology, fit
for the computer-literate alone. Seduced by money, we now live here
before our screens, meeting remotely – the art of communication reduced to mediocrity.