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Compassion

23rd Feb 2018

Sometimes,

 

I breathe in

The spicy, creamy aroma

Of my favourite, steaming pasta,

 

And I’m about to dig in,

 

When an image passes through my mind,

The distended belly, gaunt face,

Hungry eyes

Of a starving child

 

Sometimes,

 

I’m snug under the covers,

Burrowed in a favourite book and sweater,

Oblivious to sleet and thunder,

 

When I suddenly consider

Children blue and huddled together

Each ragged breath, frozen tear,

A piercing dagger

In the heart of their mother

 

Sometimes,

 

I’m chatting away,

Enjoying coffee and creme brûlée

With friends in a café,

 

When it occurs to me,

That for so many,

Clean water on a scorching day

Requires a back-breaking, five mile journey

 

In the moments that I venture

Outside my middle-class bubble

I’m wracked with guilt,

I feel ashamed, sick

How self-absorbed, selfish

I am

 

For many of us

Who live in comfort,

Fleeting twinges of conscience

Are common

 

Yet,

 

Does the spark of compassion

Ever sustain a revolution

Beyond sporadic donations?

 

Rare is the one who truly cares

To recalibrate

The compass of his life

 

Enough to forswear

Luxury and laissez-faire

For reflective, equitable, ethical

Living

 

Fatema Valji

 

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