People wait at the end of the road
Looking for the dust proclaiming vehicles
With life giving food aid on board.
But the denial of hope will kill them dead.

They cluster on the dry dusty plain of Korem
Where relief trucks will come and help is nearby.
Skinny little children fed high protein meals.
Hope kept them alive until help came.

Sometime the rain will come, deserts bloom –
Sometime, soon maybe, they will walk home.
They will take the long trek back to field and farm,
Laden with seeds, sustenance and hope.

Since time began, the unchanging Ethiopian
Has suffered cyclical droughts of varying degree.
Never quite wiped out, he has remained
Because only the denial of hope will kill him.

You hold their little lives in your hand.
For each and every one of us has such power –
We have the power to give life or give death
For the denial of hope will kill them all.

Beautiful people, lovely smiling children
Even though limbs are shrunken and starveling.
They trust that we who care will rescue them.
Only the denial of hope will kill them.

I sat in the new airport in Bombay
Tears pouring unchecked from a sick heart.
How can they bear it – the agony and degradation –
How can I bear to know what they are suffering.

The endless agony of people enduring pain
It runs almost like a litany of hell
Biafra; Vietnam; Ethiopia; Kampuchea;
Karamoja; Somalia; Luwero; Sudan.

Refugees in Thailand and in Hong Kong;
Refugees in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.
An endless march of people denied –
But only the denial of hope will kill them.

The warm hearted and caring people
Very old, very young, and in-between
Hold out the hope that help is coming.
For only the denial of hope will kill them.

If you gave once or gave twice –
Give again, give again and yet again.
For these are our own humankind.
Do not kill by the denial of hope.

Hope springs eternal in the human breast.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.
Hope against hope will sustain life.
The denial of hope will kill – pitilessly.


Pam Barrington MBE

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