Despair – a poem.

She counts the tomato flowers:

One, two, three, four,

On the stunted plant.


Forever waiting.

Hoping….still hoping.


Old plastic sheeting and palm fronds.

Dry ground and hot sun.


Stunted children,

One, two, three, four.

With spindle legs,

And hard, round stomachs,

Lie beneath the palm fronds.





Around dry mouths,

And dull eyes.


A few onions,

Some spinach.

Dry soil.


He was a farmer.


Poor harvests.

And debt.


All he grew was hunger.


This year, he takes another loan to buy seeds

But this year will be different.

He will keep one tenth of the crop

For the seeds


Next year,

There will be no more debt.


No more hunger.


There is a harvest.



Next year,

Sterile seeds.


Although he has paid back some money,

The debt has trebled.


That land was his,

Over there,

On the other side of the village.


That land covered in waste,

Hope buried under rubbish.

The future smothered with despair.


The land that belongs to someone who lives

In the nearby town.

Someone who has never seen it.


The next day,

She pulls up one onion.

Picks some spinach.

Boils some water for her children.

One, two three…


Her fatherless children.


In India every year, large numbers of farmers take their own lives when they become trapped in a cycle of poverty, high-interest debt, and bad harvests. And to compound their problems, certain huge multi-national companies are developing seeds that produce only sterile plants, meaning that the farmer cannot use harvested seed to grow new crops, and has no choice but to buy seed again the following year, sinking further into that hopeless spiral.

The government seems unwilling or unable to do anything to break this cycle.

30 thoughts on “Despair – a poem.

  1. Firms like Monsanto are an abomination.The Government has a lot to answer for as they should be protecting their Nationals against these pressures and where possible helpng them to irrigate their land so crops grow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True in both cases, David. And what I think really makes me angry about certain Multi-National Agri-Chemical Giants Who Shall Remain Nameless is that with the vast sums at their disposal, there is no reason why they should not have been able to develop products that truly helped the poor, and did not damage the environment. But Profit is the Religion, and making a financial loss would be completely out of the question.

      Despairing hugs back

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brenda Fisher

    That verse is so eloquent and effective Mick. It made me cry and also realise that when we talk about poverty amongst people in this country we really have little idea about the real thing. What can we do to make the greedy multinationals see what they are doing and stop them causing such irreparable harm to others in their neverending profit grabbing?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Brenda. I’m both pleased and a bit humbled that it could have that effect.

      What can we do, indeed? Protest, petition and boycott, I suppose. Spread the word. Educate. And, above all, just hope.

      Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Undoubtedly. It needs a holistic solution involving low interest loans, better farming methods and resources, education, better basic health and mental health resources…sigh. Plus, no doubt, plenty of things I don’t know about. Thanks, Rajiv.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shamanic Mechanics

    Awareness and Compassion – ThankYou Mick. Your poem expressed a picture that read and involved in a truth, yet still, tragically un-resolved by a government- who knows not, and perhaps cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jaymz. I truly do not know whether the government has the will to resolve it. I would like to think it has, but, there again, I would also like to think that all governments are truly concerned for the welfare of the poorest and most vulnerable, and I’ve been proved wrong on that a few times.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shamanic Mechanics

        The times we live and breathe my friend – they are a’changin’.

        It’s the people with heart – they stand and bare witness to the crimes against humanity and suffer often in silence. Those who destroy, destroy only themselves. They won’t stand, when it all comes tumbling down.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. We are on the same wave length re Governments and the imbalance
    I have read your Poem I do think its rather haunting, in a beautiful but sad way
    Good stuff though – maybe one day people who can will listen rather than those who cant, but wish they could… if you get my drift

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a terribly sad situation, Mick – the words and truth of your poem made me cry. The title, ‘Despair’ is so apt. The fat-cats in these governments and some of the wealthy organisations in this world only seem to care about making, even more money, and apparently don’t seem to mind whose already desperate lives they destroy in the process. Appalling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is appalling, Ellie. Thanks for commenting, and for your kind words. It is not even as simple as simple greed, unfortunately. It’s a rancid cocktail of all that you say,, mixed with people who care but who have their hands tied through lack of funding, people too frightened to speak truth to power, party politics, and natural disasters.
      Of all of these, though, as you point out, greed is the worst.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Heartbreaking poem, and the situation makes me mad too. I know that some of those companies are from the US. How greedy and despicable to produce seeds incapable of producing life. Those choices are filled with current and future doom.

    Liked by 1 person

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