Tag Archives: famine

Where Charity Ends


The cash
scorched their pockets,
so they drove to the shops.

They bought
silly hats for Ascot,
nifty jackets to match the fashion,
trainers imported from dim Asian sweatshops,
nasty plastic bracelets for no special reason,
dresses that hungry children had studded with beads
so secretaries could look like hippies when they hit the festival fields.

They slurped greedy treats
while on TV screens, malnourished children
struggled to breathe.

“Charity begins at home,” said mum,
speedily switching to BBC where a documentary
displayed equally disturbing images. “We can’t
let the kids see this,” said dad,
and switched channel again.

“We have no money for a third holiday
since the kitchen extension was so pricey,” said mum,
“and we can’t afford to improve our second home
as we’ve just had to pay for your shiny red
penis extension in the garage,”
she added.

They ordered oodles of takeaway
and ate chunks of cake while they waited.
When the food arrived they shovelled a few bites
then rudely shoved their plates away,
complaining that they were full.

Mum scraped waste into the obese garbage bin,
wondering why
she had so little appetite.

Meanwhile, in Somalia,
mothers held their breath, hunger forgotten as they watched
the struggle of small chests, hearing not their own wails
when deathly silence fell.


©Jane Paterson Basil