Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; WB Yeats
I am following the discipline of writing to the fiveminutefriday prompt. Anyone is welcome to join this community of bloggers at https://fiveminutefriday.com/2020/10/15/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-hold/ This week the prompt for 5 minutes of writing is HOLD.
Yesterday I attended an online poetry reading for Challenge Poverty week. Thirty or forty people shared poems about their first hand experience of poverty. The readings were interspersed with short breaks where music was played to allow us to reflect on the feelings each poem had generated. It was inspiring but upsetting hearing about families whose children had been taken into care just because they were poor, mothers having to choose between their children’s food and their own sanitary needs, and men struggling to find a meaning for their lives where there is no work.
I enjoyed the event, and fell deeply asleep as soon as I was in bed. Two hours later I woke with my mind alert and my body too tense to go back to sleep. I felt anger that, when things fall apart, it is those with the least resources who feel the effect most. I ranted and raved in despair. I share a sonnet, a response by Andrew Budek-Schmeisser to last week’s blog HELP, that captures better than I can the complacency that allows injustice.
Can you see them from your window
as you’re sitting to your feast?
Swollen belly, rock for pillow,
are they surely not the least
of these our Saviour showed us,
to displace us from our pride,
but are they tossed beneath the bus
on which we gaily ride
to charities that we have made
to put our names in noble mention;
when lip service has been paid
we then gladly turn attention
to life from which we won’t see:
“Thank God, better them than me!”
This morning I read Colossians 1 verse 17. ‘He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’. It is right to be angry at injustice, not in despair, but taking action in love and respect of others, trusting in the one who holds it all together. See the global commemoration for the international day for the eradication of poverty, 17th October. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/global-commemoration-for-the-intl-day-for-the-eradication-of-poverty-2020-tickets-119904199689
I have been active in the fight against poverty since teaching in Kenya in the 1970’s, but poverty is not confined to ‘somewhere else’ it is right here. For years I have been a friend and supporter of ATD Fourth World. I would love to hear what you do to fight poverty.