Dueling Poems: “The World’s Gone to Hell in a Handbasket” (Satire) vs. a Reasoned Response

Hi, friends. Hope my fellow Americans had/have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. Though none of our lives are perfect, we have a lot for which we should be grateful.

Speaking of which, this is a poem poking fun at those who believe the world has gone to hell in a handbasket and will be destroyed by God’s wrath any day now. Though I certainly won’t deny how injustice, oppression, etc. run rampant in the world today, I hope to illustrate through this poem that evil has always run rampant in our broken world.

[Humorous sidenote: My grandpa, who grew up dirt poor on the heels of the Great Depression, used to say, “The only good thing about ‘the good old days’ is that they’re gone!”]

I’m only an “okay” poet, so forgive the varying line lengths. Also, this satire doesn’t quite meet the technical definition…just know the parts in italics represent the person who feels the world has gone mad. Lastly, forgive me for leaving out the other one million events/conditions from the past I could’ve mentioned.

Enjoy, and remember to count your blessings always!

“The World’s Gone to Hell in a Handbasket”

The world’s gone to hell in a handbasket!

Society has lost its way!

We’ve never seen as much evil and chaos

As we do today.

In the ancient days of Rome and Greece,

Nero burned human bodies for party lights.

Men “mentoring” boys, using them as playthings,

Was a tradition deemed natural and right.

Skipping forward to the 1000’s,

Empires fell, and the middle ages began.

A migrant crisis started, trade collapsed,

The black plague killed one third of Europe’s population.

Skipping way forward in history,

Let’s reflect on the last few hundred years:

Witch trials, genocides, the Holocaust,

Civil wars, world wars, the Trail of Tears.

I’m insulated by my modern life and my #firstworldproblems;

I lack a historical view of oppression and pain.

When I see moral degradation and struggles around me,

It feels like we’re doomed; the world is going insane.

Remember when we kept people like mules–

Called them property, denied their humanity?

Tragically, the fight for real equality

lasted over a century (and continues debatably).

Before the days of modern medicine like antibiotics,

Many people died from now-curable illnesses.

And prior to smartphones, a couple decades ago,

We didn’t have the world at our fingertips.

Less than 100 years ago,

Running water was a luxury,

And rather than driving cars,

People hitched a horse-and-buggy.

But I like to think I’d trade it all

To go back to “a simpler time.”

These darn kids today

Just don’t know what it was like!

A Reasoned Response

Though I poke fun at the gloom-and-doom view,

I understand why people feel this way.

But sin has always been a problem–

That’s the point I want to make.

Violence, persecution, oppression, injustice

Exist around the world today.

I don’t mean to minimize that;

I strive through mission work to make change.

We face urgent problems in 2019–

Like human trafficking, which is modern slavery…

Foreign sweatshops in the “fast fashion” era…

Half the world lives on a daily household income of $2.50.

But considering the conveniences many of us have,

like cars, medicine, and bathrooms inside,

And considering some social changes,

like black people’s freedom and women’s rights,

Perhaps, instead of dismissing all that,

We should thank God for our blessings,

And, instead of moaning about sin in the world,

Seek opportunities to help and get busy!

Thanks for reading? What do you think–has the world gone to hell in a handbasket? What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments.

16 comments

  1. I really liked both the poem and it’s interpretation. I definitely think your grandpa was right. The good old days weren’t actually as good as we sometimes like to think they were.

    This is, I think, one of the adorable faults of humans… to remember the past as better than it really was. Grandmother’s bend over newborns with stars in their eyes declaring how sweet and short the years are. Until you’re in them. Now I’m finding myself looking back and agreeing. They were short and sweet. But they were also impossibly long and chaotic.

    There are many great things about the world today. My firstborn is alive because of modern medicine. Come to think of it, I might be alive because of it as well. Who knows what loss our family would’ve had to face without antibiotics or immunizations. Other things you mentioned to: no more slavery (at least out in the open), less discrimination, etc.

    But I’m the same breath, some things are worse. How come a dog has more rights than an unborn baby? Why is pornography a multi billion dollar success? Why do people not look each other in the eye anymore, preferring screens over relationships? And how come everyone is more concerned about what they’re gonna be when they grow up than who they’re gonna be?

    I agree. Let’s stop wishing for the good old days, remembering with honesty what those days looked like. Let’s learn from their failures. But let’s also look back and remember the things they did well! A proper look at History is so important.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I totally agree with you, Heather! Nostalgia tends to give things a rosy tint and help us forget the hardships and trials of the past. But you make a good point that there really are some things we did better in the past and could learn from the past. Appreciate your in-depth comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. great post – we romanticize a past that we have never lived because we don’t like the present that we must live, it gives us something lost to lament and to dream of returning to something we think was better, too bad the past we wish would become our reality is, in all reality not any better and possible worse than the reality we are living now

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I do get nostalgic from time to time, but as you said, it’s for the “good times” as the bad is often forgotten, but I can sincerely say at 67 years old and TRYING to serve the Lord for five of those decades, I do NOT long for the past or the good ole days, but rather look forward with excitement to what is instore for us in eternity. I love to imagine, yet I know that my imagining falls way short of what is being prepared!! God bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great! Food for thought! I this we do this also regarding our own personal journey with Jesus. We so often concentrate on where we have yet to reach. What we still fail at what is not good! Instead of glancing back and praising God for how very far we have come and the transformation that has already occurred. Thanks for this I love it! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s