I am a mother with three most charming sons
And a half pint daughter.
Lithe, Lissom, Lively – endowed with health –
Cornelia I am one with you.

Cornelia mother of the Graccni tiring of friends
Boasting of worldly wealth,
Called her little children to her loving arms –
Cornelia I am one with you.

‘These’, she said in the triumphant tone of motherhood,
Old as time itself,
‘These are the jewels with which my husband adorns me’ –
Cornelia I am one with you.

If from a distant two thousand and something years
I understand that Cornelia,
Then from a distant six thousand and something miles
I understand another mother.

This one too has pride and love for her little children,
And ghastly gnawing fear –
This one is from a fearsome, drought stricken land
Where little children die.

A mother bears children in suffering, pride and joy –
All mothers know and understand.
There they are, hostage to the future – our only wealth,
Dying because mother cannot help.

Powerless to make it rain; powerless to make compassion work –
Can we bear to look at those eyes?
She has fought, struggled, refugeed to what may be better –
Will we pass by, uncaring?

She is a mother with three most charming sons
And a half pint daughter.
Skinny, lean, lethargic – crippled with sickness –
My heart grieves for her.

Oh let us gather together the rich complacent world
And start to really care
For our sisters and their pathetic weeping babes –
It really is one world.

Such a little world, so beautiful and all we have –
So let us make it work
That justice, truth, beauty, fair shares for everyone
Is no dream but reality.

Let us not turn in revulsion from festering sores
And ugly swollen bellies,
Let us instead turn to these monstrous horrors,
Recognising my child in these.

Maybe if we all remember the secret sisterhood –
Colonel’s wife and Molly O’Grady,
We could much more readily put ourselves in her place –
There but for the Grace of God…

Every time we cry against the cruel injustice of famine,
Every time we donate to help,
We are making a statement that we want this agony to stop
And never to return.

Gandhi said ‘there is enough for everyman`s need, not greed’
So shudderingly true a statement .
But if we share, hold out a hand and try living in harmony
We can all look for a bright morrow.


Pam Barrington MBE

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