Breadlines

by Matt Sowerby

Give us this day our daily bread

So said the underfed,
Give us it because the baby’s half-dead
Because when Susie’s heading to the bank
She doesn’t mean NatWest –
There wouldn’t be any point anyway.

They have cropped the Lord’s Prayer.
They want one thing from the Divine:
Daily bread, hence why
When we talk about poverty
We call it the breadline
Where £1.85
Means you’re buying some red wine
And the Daily Mail’s headlines
Invade minds like head lice.

And on the corner near Home Bargains
Aidan sits on the paves.
He’ll gladly accept your coppers
But is desperate for change,
Tin cans and plastic bags lovingly arranged.

He tells me:
“This is a food fight.
This here is the Hunger Games.”

And little Benny’s tummy is rumbling
He calls out to eat something
And Mummy’s coming
But in her hands she’s carrying nothing
And he’s crying again,
Off he goes,
Though little does he know
His mum hasn’t eaten for three days in a row.

Sometimes
I hope that I’m seeing
Fake news on the television
Because what I’m seeing is so shocking
That I want it to be fiction,
Then I hear complaints
From my mates
When a packet of grapes
Is out of their price ranges.

And I don’t mean to make this an issue of religion
But with prices like high rises
These fruits remain forbidden.

I’m not a cynic
But it is ridiculous when the 1%
Are still fattened up like chickens.
How is this still a problem in Britain?
How here do eight million
Still struggle to get food into the kitchen
And why are those worst affected
Including one in five children?

Yet the issues are still hidden.
These stories remain unwritten
And nobody’s listening.

But the thing with Pandora’s box
Is that there’s still hope within it.

And that hope is from the times
I’ve seen people supporting their neighbours,
Even those normally cautious with their wages,
And yet when I see people collecting donations
It’s not the suits that are paying up,
It’s the teenagers.
Unreported acts of bravery
Every day by the nameless.
So forget God
Because I reckon
Five thousand can be fed
Without divine intervention.

So give us this day our daily bread

Or at least give us the means
Because we’ll manage the rest.