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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Diet - deadline is 8-9-12 9:59 am NY time. (08/02/12)

TITLE: That even in America...
By Linda Goergen


In a shabby back room, in a run down house,
in the north side of Chicago,
a little girl, so small for her age,
sits huddled and hungry…again.
She prays for her stomach to stop aching,
as her mother feeds on drugs—
to the tenth diet commercial that hour,
blaring from the TV
into every corner of the tiny apartment,
mocking the little girl’s hunger.
But the little girl hears
and wonders,
what it would be like
to have enough food
to make you fat.

Inside a cute little house,
in rural Ohio,
with a white picket fence and a tree with a swing,
a mom stands—praying
her home canned preserves will last,
as long as it takes for her husband to find another job.
Their meager savings, they’d struggled so hard to save,
prevents them getting food stamps.
With house payment and utility bills
eating the savings,
food shopping has to wait.
She holds back tears,
when her youngest of three children,
asks why—
they can’t have an evening snack.
She tries to force a smile
as an overweight neighbor stops by,
rattling on and on, consumed with
the latest diet craze, eagerly discussed that night
at ladies church meeting.
As an afterthought, the neighbor also mentions
the church food pantry idea—that didn’t get far.
The neighbor’s high toned rant,
that a food pantry for the needy
was just plain silly anyway
and quite unnecessary in their neighborhood,
rings in her ears,
as she can no longer hold back tears,
and quietly cries herself to sleep.

In a little mobile home,
in a cramped retirement community,
in Florida,
an elderly couple sits
and listens patiently—to a home health nurse
lecture them on the importance
of a healthy diet.
They exchange silent glances at each other.
They know their worry, all too often,
is not healthy or cheap grocery choices,
but to choose between needed medicine or food.
They often pray which to choose that week,
to keep themselves alive a little longer,
and sometimes
if either choice is worth it.
They had saved and planned
to be carefree and cared for
in their “golden years”,
but the loss of their only child,
as he fought for America,
and the series of illnesses
that attacked their
ever grieving bodies,
changed their plans.

Oh God, how close to us
are one of these—starving
in heart and body—praying
that someone sees?
As we send so much help afar,
are close-by needs too often concealed,
shadowed by illusions—
do we abandon
our local mission fields?
Help us Lord, to clearly see,
that even living in a land so blessed,
where worldwide—all here are perceived,
as living on a diet of greed,
that even in this land of plenty,
that even in America,
remind us Lord,
You have hungry children waiting to be fed.

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This article has been read 475 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/09/12
This was so powerfully executed and prolific on so many different levels.

Truth abounds in this sobering poem which conjured up images that do exist in our own "backyards."

This descriptive and thought provoking entry is one that will stay with me for a long time. A timely reminder that there are many right here in the USA that are in need of sponsorship and help.

Fabulous, brilliant and authentic in its delivery.

Thank you for this moving piece.

God bless~
Charla Diehl 08/09/12
Your title drew me in--your writing kept me reading. This gripping piece should stir the hearts of every reader. We must open our eyes to the needs of others, even when our own paychecks have shrunk or disappeared. I expect to see this in the EC list.
Noel Mitaxa 08/10/12
It's not only in America, but this is powerfully written in its coverage and its challenge.
Ellen Carr 08/10/12
Thank you for this moving piece of writing. I'm not American but I am so grateful for the processes put in place, usually by Christian people, to provide welfare. It's a feature of 'Christian-based' countries.
Yet people still slip through the net, sadly.
C D Swanson 08/16/12
Congratulations Linda! This was excellent...I am so happy for you.

God Bless,

Danielle King 08/16/12
Congratulations on your ribbon Linda, with this sobering and too true poem.
Myrna Noyes08/16/12
WOW! You provided us with a different and deeply challenging perspective on the topic of "Diet." I was so moved by your excellently-written piece, and I offer you my hearty congratulations on your 3rd place E.C.!!
Yvonne Blake 08/16/12
Congratulations, Linda!
Nancy Bucca08/19/12
Great job with this. Congratulations!