A faint nagging might begin it,
As gentle as the whisper of a child
But soon it grows to become all-consuming –
Consuming! So unfortunate a word
To describe what is felt when there is aught to consume –
A great weakness, depriving the brain
Of all senses as the air is tasted,
The light seems grey,
What once seemed sane rushes away
For one thought – to devour
Anything at all, any crust, any mould,
Just something to fill the gaping void
Left by the hours of negligence.
A roll must suffice when a meal should do,
For one day, then another, and one more,
Blood growing thin,
We are laid out on the floor
Without the dignity of death to our falling.
We stare with envy at those with a sour apple,
Or a greasy chip, its fats glittering enticingly.
Even the pictures on seemingly every wall
Cause saliva to fill the mouth with ecstasy
Which is denied, and in this madness,
Delirious nonsense pours from our lips,
So longing of traffic the other way
That the garrulous flood might be plugged
But it cannot be! No food to be had,
Not a crumb in the larder,
Soon the world will turn away in pity
At the mad frothing of those who are truly hungry.
On completing this poem, I made the brief note ‘Too Victor Hugo’. It reeks of my recent reading of Les Miserables – which, in fact, I had finished the day I wrote this poem. Beside being immensely long, it is filled with interesting vignettes, one of which is the tale of a man – Monsieur Mabeuf – who survives on two boiled eggs a day due to his poverty. This was not what inspired me, but the effort of travelling halfway across my country without eating any breakfast, or lunch, and only a token dinner. I was ravenous.
The Hapless Ne0-Romantic