CER (27th March 1990 / Singapore)

Poor Man Eating

Were I a painter
I am sure
My signature theme would be
The title of this poem.
The sun races to the zenith,
Imperious as an oriental autocrat.
The poor man crouches
In imitation Tommy Hilfiger rags
In the dwindling shade
Of a denuded tree.

His hands cradle
A bowl of fired earth–
It could be an Ouija board
To conjure up goodies,
Courtesy of the weak of conscience.

And when they come,
How he falls to it!
Eyes focused in mystic concentration,
Left arm protectively around
The pile of comestibles,
As right hand shovels them
Into an eager mouth.

I would paint the scene
Over and over
In luscious oil:
The painted proliferation
Might work magic,
Converting seeming impossibility
Into palpable reality:

All the world’s poor
Men and women
Gathered as if on the mythic day
Of final reckoning,
On this lowly earth,
Devouring earthly fare:
O the gods would come down
To bless and share!

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Comments (1)

Nice write; loved how you tied the last stanza back to the first one, while showing personal growth. Well done.