Its all about the story. A simple statement and my mantra for many years. The stories that we all carry about hunger, when told, help others see the reality of world. I was reading the latest issue of Christian Century (April 7) and came upon a beautiful poem by Beth Copeland.
Reflections in a spoon
Hunger is a bowl of reflected light,
a concave mirror of flight,
an image reversed,
the breech birth
of an angel floating from Earth
I wondered what the story was behind this work and I contacted Ms. Copeland. Here is her response:
Well, I was intrigued by the way reflections are upside down on the convex side of a spoon. Also, I was thinking of the many hungry people in the world and those who die of starvation. I spent a year in India when I was in seventh grade (1963-1964), where I saw many starving people. There were so many hungry people that we couldn’t help all of them, which tore at my heartstrings, but we did help one family. A baby (the child of servants who lived next door to us) was slowly dying of starvation because his mother could not breastfeed him. The baby’s name was Ramji and his sister, who was probably 7 or 8 years old, brought him to our yard one day. We fed the little girl and my mother bought formula for Ramji and showed his mother how to prepare it for him. I used to hold him and feed him his bottle while his sister played with my younger sister. Ramji gained weight and was able to sit up before we had to leave India to return to the United States. Before we left, my mother gave his mother a supply of formula. I have often wondered what happened to him and to his sister. I like to believe that they are still alive, but I doubt it. We were told that Ramji was 10 months old when we met him, but he couldn’t hold up his head or sit up until after we started feeding him. I believe he is an angel.
The Maundy Thursday epistle text, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, is the story of Paul addressing a division in the church, some had food others didn’t. He reminds the reader that the gifts were for all and puncuates the message with the common Eucharistic prayer.
Have a Blessed Easter.
My poetry book Traveling Through Glass was published by Bright Hill Press in 1999. At that time I was publishing under my married name, Beth Copeland Vargo. Ramji’s story is told in a poem in the book called “Nine Months in Benares.” The book is available on Amazon.com.I hope to have my second poetry collection published within a year or so. In addition to “Reflections in a Spoon,” it will include a poem about the exploitation of children in the silk industry in India, as well as some poems inspired by my childhood as a missionary kid in Japan and India