Awakening - A Poem of Motherhood and Hunger

-Shared by Angela Angelovic
Started as a way to bring powerful poetry to bear in the fight against hunger in the U.S. and overseas, Poetry X Hunger recently partnered with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) to sponsor the first ever World Food Day Poetry Competition for poets in the greater Washington, DC area.  

While many of the poems were moving, one poem particularly tugged at my heart.

The poet, Rosemarie Law from Germantown, MD, captures the depth of a mother's love, and correlates it with providing food to the hungry.


Mother always said that if she had only a single slice of bread, she would cut it
in eight equal pieces. That’s how many children her body nurtured into this world and every day thereafter until her final breath ascended into the ether.

Of all the words she whispered, shouted, sang and cried
over all the thousands of days of my childhood, those stick most.

It dawns on me, now, she didn’t include herself in that equation.

For every star in our galaxy, there shines a mother, a father who has gone dreadfully hungry. Many have fallen into the gaping mouth of graves after offering that last bite of bread to their child. Their final act of love.

That is sacrifice.

We, of full stomachs,
we, whose wildest imaginations will never fathom starvation- so little is asked of us:

A willingness to strip ourselves of the blinders that protect us from the squirm of discomfort when we see a boy, a girl, a woman, a man clearly in need of basic nourishment.

But what can I do? Only one person of limited means? Begin simply.

A sack of oranges.
A bag of apples.
A ham or chicken on special sale days.
A pot of soup for a struggling family.
This list could wrap itself around our planet.

We are not asked to solve the problems of the world, simply to look at the slice of bread we hold each day, break off a piece from whichever corner feels right.

Extend that open hand. Open that awakened heart.

Rosemarie Law


Hands black and white photo by Kristin De Soto

1 comment

  • A very, very moving poem that should be shared widely. Thanks for posting it!

    Hiram Larew

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