The Disinherited - A Wake Up Call

Hunger is despotic and predatory
Death and disease peep
From every nook
From every cranny
He knows
And can feel it In his ravaged bones that
At the bottom of the societal chain
The pressure never lets up
It only increases
Come summer; come winter; come rainy season
He earns; they eat
He earns; they eat
He earns; they eat

Give him an extra fiver
And watch his eyes light up
He recognises that rare glimmer
Of human kindliness
He hopes upon hopeless hope
That there be will more
From where that came
His physical hunger is accompanied
By yet another hunger
To be understood, to be empathised with
To be accepted and respected
As another human being if nothing else

After a hard and gruelling day
Of haggling and tough bargaining,
He returns to his decrepit little shack where
Waiting for him
Are his expectant wife and malnourished child
He looks anxiously into the eyes of his child
And the alarm bell rings
A stark and cruel reminder that the rest of his days
Are earmarked, provided of course,
Disease doesn’t maim him and death doesn’t stop him

After a frugal meal, he retires
His body screaming for the much needed rest
But, even in his sleep, his dreams haunt
Stretching before him
Is an endless tunnel - dark, dank and unlit
Crowded by the spectres of his long lost buddies
And ending - he knows not where

He would love to give up his spirit,
Surrender himself and get lost
In the silent, restful and merciful arms of death
But the thought of his wife and child
Will not allow him that luxury

Every now and again
There are outbursts of rhetoric
From our HOUNOURABLE Minister
He wants to put an end to this human indignity
And also, as an after thought, he says:
“We should think about our big brothers.
After all we do need foreign investment
And HUMAN RIGHTS is a ticklish issue”
To the question:
What about an alternate source of employment
After all
He has to feed himself and his family
The answer is either
An ambiguous murmur
A nonchalant silence

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