Abel and Cain – 150 Years After Baudelaire

Inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s Abel et Cain, poet Niall McDevitt gave us his modern day adaptation. Here’s the original – 150 years later fashions may have changed, but not much else…

Photography by Max Reeves.


Race of Abel, dine at The Ritz;

capitalism is such bliss.

Race of Cain, Big Mac and frites;

capitalism takes the

Race of Abel, your gram of coke

powders the nose of seraphim.

Race of Cain, inject or smoke

your £5 wrap of heroin.

Race of Abel, your haute couture

is so chic, so pleasant.

Race of Cain, your cheap sportswear

brands you ‘urban peasant’.

Race of Abel, you’re from good stock;

success begets success.

Race of Cain, you ‘breed like dogs

– gratis – on the NHS.’

Race of Abel, your fat cat premium

is a tad invidious.

Race of Cain, your £5 minimum

is insulting and injurious.

Race of Abel, money fucks

in its penthouse suite.

Race of Cain, in towerblocks,

poverty sucks its teeth.


Race of Abel, fill up your arks.

The flood is coming. Flee!

Race of Cain, your Christ, your Marx

haven’t set you free.

Race of Abel, there is one bother:

money can’t bribe death.

Race of Cain, kill Big Brother

and distribute his wealth

Read this in print – pick up your copy of Strike! here