Reflections on a Global Crisis under African Skies
Calloused feet on hardpack path,
Brick-red clay snaking through emerald oceans,
She plies survival with shouldered hoe,
Wondering idly of other worlds,
Where trying times occasion “crises,”
As though not daily specter of woe.
Where luxury of plenty prompts hoarding,
And misery trickles down unordained,
Thunderously on the fragile lives
Of those who can least sustain.
You can listen to the poet reading his poem clicking on the button below: it will open the audio file in a new window
John William Medendorp is an international development practitioner and lifelong humanitarian, devoted tooth and nail to the elimination of hunger and poverty.
The Spinning Plate of Hunger
When I think of hunger it's usually in terms of the most innocent –
the babies of the world. Babies, be they black, white, pink, brown, yellow,
tan, even blue, no wait, blue babies happen when hunger wins. When they
loll in mother's arms covered in flies with their little eyes glazed over in
Africa or India or some other foreign land, flies feasting on their
innocence but always somewhere else, never here!
Not here in the good old USA [it can't happen here] oh but yes it can!
We pride ourselves in maintaining a higher quality of poverty than the rest of the world
As if one could quantify suffering per capita, as in “what level is your hunger today?”
We are conscientious about records keeping, quantifying, measuring, comparing...
we don't know much about this disease but we have lots of data.
One thing we do know is that
Hunger is a constant, no matter what diseases are making the rounds
Hunger is a spinning plate that no food can ever stick on, a plate
that must keep spinning come hell or high water. It's our cross to bear,
our national obsession. But what good is a plate if you can't get the food to stay on it?
What kind of a joke is this? Nobody around here is laughing.
RD Armstrong from California, USA has been serving the muse and poets everywhere for 25 years. He writes, (tho poems are few and far these day). He publishes others and himself. His Lummox Press (https://www.lummoxpress.com/lc) is almost as old and has published some 200+ titles. Because he is a loner, all this remains a big secret that only a few poets know about.
Bread in Hand
But even after all of this
farmers keep farming
for every one of us
They bend the sun
and raise the earth
each day for us
They round each rough
and tamp down these fears
for each of us
Yes after all of this
They’re the bells of life for us
And even after all of this
the grocers pickers baggers stackers sorters drivers checkers
and sweepers too
are here for us
Like bowls of life
they give us each our every day
and so renew that sense of trust for us
And even after all of this
and just as much
are those who volunteer to serve the soup
The ones who help and give and care on our behalf
Their hands and hearts
shape our thanks --
No matter what else happens
they are life
And yes even after all of this
These days seem like fields to us
with shadows deep across the view
but with hope there too
a full green that grins as ever
just like those who stand and wave
bread in hand
through all of this
Click on the button to listen to Hiram Larew reading his poem. The link will open and start playing in the same tab.
Hiram Larew founded the informal Poetry X Hunger initiative in 2017 as a way to bring two areas of interest – poetry and hunger prevention – together. Upon retiring from the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he helped guide international agriculture programs, he noticed that relatively little poetry about hunger was available. Believing in the power of poetry to touch hearts and minds, he launched Poetry X Hunger as a way to encourage poets to write about hunger.
Now more than ever
These poems have been submitted to the call for poetry "Now more than ever"