Poor Man Eating | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 01, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 01, 2017

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!

 

Kaiser Haq is Bangladesh's leading poet. The poem was first published in 'Pariah and Other Poems' (Bengal Lights: Dhaka). Reprinted by permission.  

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