OUR CHILDREN

 

We have 2 children: a stone
girl and a space-age boy....

Our electric boy is quick, bright
sharp as lightning and eloquent.
His appetite for constant amusement
and titillation is insatiable.

Each X'mas his requests are legion:
a laser gun, digital watch, remote

control car and kit for space invasion.
But don't give me food as presents,

he admonishes, they soon disappear.
You can't play with food, he reckons.

No, you cannot play with food
our little stone girl will agree

as gargoyle-like she crouches
in unsmiling wide-eyed silence.

Empty bowl in tiny brittle hands
whittled to bone by malnutrition

She has no dreams of toys and
asks for nothing; but the hunger

(not metaphorical) in her eye
says all there is to say: the only

gift i and my seventeen million other
brothers and sisters need each year

is urgent loving care and a full belly
or we may, all of us, soon disappear....


I don't like people to give food as presents because they disappear. You cannot play with food.
(10-year-old when asked what he wants for Christmas)
17 million children die each year as a direct result of malnutrition...
-UNICEF REPORT-