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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two Nov-Dec 2023.
Just for Today, poems by Rachael Stanley.
Just for Today
Not for this Kenyan mother, the question
who will I meet today for lunch?
Or does the colour of this dress
match my eyes?
Not for her children
under African skies
the luxury of deciding
what to give up for Lent.
Not for her, the worry about
stocks and shares
and plummeting markets
and world trade.
Not for her, concern
about the price of nuclear weapons
or the price of grain to
fatten the cattle to feed the overfed.
No, today she will walk many miles
of this scorched earth
to haul water
to carry firewood
to pray for rain
to hope with each step she takes
that help will come, that just for today
she can feed her children.
Everyone in her house
has been threatened
beaten and tear-gassed.
Each day they come
with their trucks, rape the land
and cut down trees
to feed the greed
of the large corporations
but all she wants
is the right to use her land
to feed her children.
There is hunger in their bellies
they stand on plundered ground
but she will fight on
till her life’s blood ebbs away
till the land itself rises up in revolt
fighters sometimes perish
but the earth never forgets.
A seed is planted in her heart
she remembers the old TV clip
of Martin Luther King
I have a dream.
Just on the cusp of despair
the memory of it comes back to her now
like a warm and comforting blanket.
She hears his voice softly whispering
telling her to dig deeply into rooted earth
and to take time to look at the night sky.
Her heart uplifted, she turns
away from the thorns
and plants mustard seeds
in the warm and promising earth.
© Rachael Stanley
Rachael Stanley’s poems have been published in various journals and anthologies and have previously appeared in Live Encounters and Drawn to The Light Press. She has been commended in the Francis Ledwidge Competition. She lives in Dublin.