A Little Boy


There was a boy
–A little boy–
With quite an eye
For things we'd miss
You and I

His hunger pains
He could allay
With cakes and tablets
Made of clay

On days that're bad, yes,
But not so much so
That to buy 'em for him
His mom had no dough

"What's in a name?"
–So they say–
I received mine
Never thought it over
Accepted it just fine

But when they booked
Most of his black town
For possession of humanity
–And resolve and dignity–
That they'd courageously shown

They asked him his name
With a touch of boredom
Until he told 'em
It's Freedom, Freedom.

Note added Nov. 10, 2012:
Dedicated to children in Haiti and US (on whose stories the poem is loosely based) and around the world, and to Howard Zinn.

For the story of the child asked his name, see Howard Zinn, A People's History Of The United States: 1492 to Present, Harper, 2005. For the food-related story, see e.g. Rory Carroll, Haiti: Mud cakes become staple diet as cost of food soars beyond a family's reach, Guardian (London), July 29, 2008; <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/29/food.internationalaidanddevelopment>; for more on background and context see Paul Farmer, Pathologies of Power: Health Human Rights and the New War on the Poor, University of California Press, 2004.

Leave a comment