He stood amidst the crowd,
bustling to hustle for life,
the grim reality of shanty towns
beneath tinned roofs of scrap
tight quarters and narrow lanes,
such was life;
kids barely clothed, rarely fed
and nothing taken for granted.
A hand extends his way, another little fist tentatively going astray,
tugging and tapping,
ever wordlessly asking
for mercy, for prayer,
will you give some spare, give without care?
So he turned, all around him counting,
the number of children disappearing behind skin and bones,
then he called, a nearby stall where food lay tempting, but not for begging.
‘Come, my man, feed these children, and I shall pay.’
He watched, as a line slowly formed,
hungry one after the other, they thanked,
for the food, for generosity, was rare.
As the food disappeared between hungry lips, and the money vanished from his hips,
he smiled as drops of tears threatened him,
a boy thanked him, for one day less to worry, whether he’d go to bed yet hungry.
And the line turned, to him,
upon little faces spread gratitude unyielding.
Wasn’t it strange, here people thanked him for one meal,
back home, meals upon unfinished meals went into bins.
Such despair. Such waste.