Now and Then
A plateful, nice
I need not measure the amount
this course, next meal… The alcohol
I wash it down with warms the soul…
Sugar and spice…
clatters back in the bleak wind
an ill-latched shutter of the mind.
I glimpse out there
a swollen belly, hollowed eyes,
where once a day or once perhaps in three
hands of careful kindness count
into the bowl the grains of rice.
Far away, far…
But look across
the street, or two or three streets. Know
featureless faces ground by gross
poverty, in common loss
Here a pittance-
pension gives the ailing old
a choice between hunger and cold.
There a child
is cheated of its natural star,
through odds of brutal, hopeless circumstance.
But pangs of conscious conscience? Oh
I know they are.