To be used by and about generous donors
Who are presumed to be sick of being sorry
For the poor, the starving and the children.

Mind and heart recoil from this fearsome phrase.
If you gave once and cared then, you will give again,
And again and again – for the horrors are still there.
Drought, flood, famine don’t quietly go away – they stay.

Doctors and nurses in the field feel compassion,
Anger, sorrow and helplessness at times.
But they go on with their merciful missions –
Their Fatigue would mean no tomorrow for some.

But the workers cannot stay without food and medicine,
Purchased with donations given by the kindly ones.
If you had entertained the view that you were fed up
Please banish such destroying thoughts and give.

Because your heart was once moved and you gave to help
Do not harden your heart and no longer care for kids.
Your donations have not yet given them a safe world
But we are all working to make a better place for them.

Please give from the rich bounty of your plenteous supply
Mayhap you have not much by the world’s standards –
These are our standards – not those of the poorest of the poor,
And we must seem as rich as Croesus to those without.

They have such dignity, calmness and ability to wait
To stand in line for the daily rations that mean life.
They smile so sweetly as you stop to touch a child.
A child makes us kin, one to the other, the wide world over.

It is the kindness of the poor, lowly and destitute
That must make us banish thoughts of Compassion Fatigue.
How can we with richness, Easter eggs and bunnies
Deny to them any help that any sort of donation may bring?

Compassion Fatigue would also equate with Ennui –
That word so beloved of crossword puzzlers.
Expressing our boredom with the world as we know it
And looking for excitement, enchantment and mystery.

There is no ennui in the daily hand to mouth existence,
There is no gaiety in wondering if the next meal will come.
That it is the same as the last meal and the one before that
Is of no moment, when this keeps body and soul together.

How, knowing that what we give and what we do is Life –
That children live or die as we ourselves care and give,
Can we pretend to a boredom with things we see on television?
Bury our heads in the sand and presume that it will all go away?

It will not go away; those serried ranks of the poor stay.
Where can they go anyway? If they haunt us they are sorry,
But if they do not haunt us and make us do something
They might as well give up, lie down and die in misery.

As Christ in the agony of the Garden of Gethsemane
Prayed to God for the strength to bear what would come –
Surely we can at least understand the agony of the poor
And give so that children may receive some blessings.

It is Easter, a time of renewal and a time to take stock.
It is Easter, and we remember that Christ died for us.
Perhaps we could share in his infinite mercy and compassion
And deny any thought of Compassion Fatigue in our hearts.