Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Needle's Eye

To follow on the train of thought from the previous post and to provide some food for thought on what it means to be truly poor: The following is (c) Copyright The Estate of the Late T.G.F.P. and is not to be republished without permission.

The R.I1 mistress comes to the staffroom late
For a cigarette, and overflows a chair.
When she subsides her breasts still oscillate.
Women so fat are prized in Africa.

From her distended handbag loll the pictures,
Ready supplies of pamphlets on starvation,
The burnished globes of bellies and the sticks
Of limbs that tell of over-population.
An airline ticket to the U.S.A.
Is there beside them. I have seen that country,
My spiritual mistress, but I best remember
The living corpses on Mombasa quay.

The nylons, flesh-inflated and expensive,
Are comfortably wide apart. Her wrist
Tilting the cigarette above the chatter
Writes easy benediction; I hear her say:
"I've just been fixing up the film projector,
It brings it home, you know - I mean the real
Conditions in which people must exist.
Our girls - how can they truly think or feel
For others as they should? They all have plenty,
As I was saying this morning to the Rector.

My spiritual mistress, two-and-twenty,
Your knickers and my thoughts are showing stress.
I'm once more with a dirty crowd that's waiting
The nightly swill-bins from a white hotel
In new Calcutta. Porters fling their bread
Into the gutter and they fight for it.
Who'd follow bleeding feet? Who was it said
The over-privileged are close to hell?

Yes; but your classroom-Christ and Kodachrome
Should both ensure your lesson will go well.

1R.I. - Religious Instruction, something that used to be taught in English schools