Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Charity

"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” 

“Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens 
those who dispense it.” 
― George Sand

International Day of Charity 2018 – September 5
"The International Day of Charity was originally a Hungarian civil society initiative. . . . [I]nstituted on September 5 to commemorate the anniversary of Mother Teresa’s death. . . . [E]mphasis is placed on enhancing visibility, organizing special events, and increasing solidarity, social responsibility, and public support. "
The late Mother Theresa of India, at one of her feeding centres in Calcutta
Mother Theresa in Calcutta
UN Photo/O. Monsen

Midweek Motif ~ Charity

We may debate the politics of charity elsewhere, here let's describe charity instead: How does it feel to give?  to receive?  to be pressured to give or receive?  to refuse?  How do you know?

Your challenge: Write one new poem about giving and/or receiving some type of charity. Use a favorite quote about charity if you wish.

File:Guan Yin dans le temple d'Ông (Can Tho, Vietnam).jpg
Depiction of Guan Yin in Vietnam 
he Bodhisattva of Compassion and Kindness

If the hope of giving
is to love the living,
the giver risks madness
in the act of giving.

Some such lesson I seemed to see
in the faces that surrounded me.

Needy and blind, unhopeful, unlifted,
what gift would give them the gift to be gifted?
          The giver is no less adrift
          than those who are clamouring for the gift.

If they cannot claim it, if it is not there,
if their empty fingers beat the empty air
and the giver goes down on his knees in prayer
knows that all of his giving has been for naught
and that nothing was ever what he thought
and turns in his guilty bed to stare
at the starving multitudes standing there
and rises from bed to curse at heaven,
he must yet understand that to whom much is given
much will be taken, and justly so:
I cannot tell how much I owe.

i want to talk about haiti.
how the earth had to break
the island’s spine to wake
the world up to her screaming.
how this post-earthquake crisis
is not natural
or supernatural.
i want to talk about disasters.
. . . .  

i want to talk about our irreversible dead.
the artists, the activists, the spiritual leaders,
the family members, the friends, the merchants
the outcasts, the cons.
all of them, my newest ancestors,
all of them, hovering now,
watching our collective response,
keeping score, making bets.
i want to talk about money.
how one man's recession might be
another man's unachievable reality.
how unfair that is.
how i see a haitian woman’s face
every time i look down at a hot meal,
slip into my bed, take a sip of water,
show mercy to a mirror.
 . . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)

I dreamed I dwelled in a homeless place
Where I was lost alone
Folk looked right through me into space
And passed with eyes of stone

O homeless hand on many a street
Accept this change from me
A friendly smile or word is sweet
As fearless charity

Woe workingman who hears the cry
And cannot spare a dime
Nor look into a homeless eye
Afraid to give the time

So rich or poor no gold to talk
A smile on your face
The homeless ones where you may walk
Receive amazing grace

I dreamed I dwelled in a homeless place
Where I was lost alone
Folk looked right through me into space
And passed with eyes of stone 

No automatic alt text available.
(See the International Day of Charity Facebook Page)
Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community.
(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Sunset.)


  1. Good Morning, dear Poets! I'm happy to be here today.

  2. Not sure if my poem fits in for today's prompt but I could think of nothing else except what I wrote. It's a thought provoking prompt Susan.

    1. Isn't it? I went back to Bible quotes--Corinthians--which are still enigma to me.

  3. Gorgeous prompt, thank you Susan. Good Wednesday poet friends

    much love...

  4. Hello, friends. I am moving slowly today but will write something. Over at Toads, Sanaa and i have a chat posted, about writing, if you would like to pop in.

    1. I haven't gotten over to Toads yet. I hope to tomorrow! You reminded me of Aesop's "Slow and steady wins the race."

  5. Please forgive me on is on subject but in a slight way. Grateful to have made it today, and so glad that Mother Teresa is featured under this. I cannot believe it has been 21 years since she went to heaven. :-(

    1. Time flies in some ways and drags in others. Grateful that you are here.

  6. Good Evening, Poets! Thank you, Susan, for this insightful prompt! :)

  7. I apologise for being a day late but my Internet activity is a little erratic at the moment, which is why I kept my poem simple. Thank you Susan for the quotes and poems!

    1. You're not late. I check back all week. I'm sorry that some of the early birds may miss your offering.


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