Poem by Bhikshuni Weisbrot
Meditation on Hunger
So this was our harvest. A single tomato from two vines.
Some said there was too much sun or too much rain, but we
got what we got. Be grateful, I said, with wisdom that came
from thinking about hunger for many days and images and
words that had shattered my imagination;
at 12, an old man rummaging through the trash for food on
my first field trip to the UN; at 14, kwashiorkor - the pot bellies
and slatted ribs of Biafran children and forever the ghost faces
of the newly liberated from the concentration camp Dachau.
Who feeds the Heaven-dreams of the hungry?
We will have a ceremony my friend said, so we cut the fruit in
equal parts, which I salted and held on my tongue as she began
the Shehecheyanu - Baruch ata Adonai - singsonging to the finish.
Then we clinked our glasses and toasted L’Chaim! To Life!
My Master once gave these instructions:
“Buy this girl some food”, he said on my birthday.
It was his affection, but now I’m thinking
“When was my famine?” When had it begun for each of us?
an insatiable hunger, an unquenchable thirst.
My cat comes to the door after a heavy rain. As long as she
is with me I will feed her. Soon it will be time to put on my sari
(perhaps the one with butterflies) and continue the nurturing task
of feeding others.
Let me not forget this benediction,
this prayer for plentitude,
Food is God.
Bhikshuni Weisbrot is the President of the UNSRC Society of Writers. She is the editor, along with Elizabeth Lara and Darrel Alejandro Holnes, of "Happiness, The Delight-Tree", An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry.
The poems that follow are powerful evidence that Poetry Speaks Back to Hunger!