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Ethiopian child
You, with your need for the bread of life,
You... have exploded into my living room --
Into all our living rooms --
And you crouch there with pleading eyes,
A wrinkled old man of two.

Your silent desperation pierces my soul
With a cry for help so loud and terrible
That I cannot drown it out with all the pleasantries
   of my civilised world.

Little child,
Your staring, silent, fetal form
Has sent out a scream of horror.
You have pierced our first world way of life,
And called to judgement
The night of our artificial hope.

We spend billions on weapons of war,
And strut our nuclear capacity with audacity,
In the same world where you lie dying
   in your dying mother's arms.

We wrap our comfortable possessions,
Around our well-fed selves and grab for more.
But now, you invade our cluttered space,
And your cry for help condemns us all
   for the poor fools we are.

Christ, your dying form
Lies at death's door in Ethiopia
Where selfishness and indifference cooperate
   with drought and politics
To crucify you once more.

Pieta. © Carole F. Chase. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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