Michael Shepherd

Rookie (8.4.1929 / Marton, Lancashire)

0007 African Child - Poem by Michael Shepherd

What's that dirty mark on the carpet in front of the TV, Mom?
That's just a shadow from tne screen, dear.

I feel sick, Mom, I must've eaten something nasty?
I expect it's that film, dear..shall we turn it off?

Is that a boy or girl baby crying, Mom?
Didn't notice dear, why, does it matter?
What's that group of men just off-screen, Dad?
They're just interested in the film.
Then why aren't they with the Moms, helping?
They may not be the fathers, dear.
(She's too young yet, to know about child-rape, honey,
though I guess we'll have to tell her sometime...)

Then where are their real Dads?
I expect they're dead, dear.
Dad you won't die will you, promise?
I hope not, darling, I'll try not to...

Why are they so hungry, Dad, when the TV can go there?
Their country's in a mess, dear.
But they always used to have enough to eat,
otherwise they wouldn't have dads and moms themselves?
It's a long and sad story, darling, I'm not sure
that I can explain it to you. I wish I knew the answer.

Will those flies on the babies' eyes come off the screen, come here?
No darling, it's Africa.
Don't they hurt? Why don't their Dads brush them off
instead of just standing there?
I expect they're used to them in Africa, dear..
shall we turn the TV off?
No I want to watch, I want to help them.
That's very good of you, darling, maybe
when you're grown up? It may be better then.

What will make it better, Dad?


Comments about 0007 African Child by Michael Shepherd

  • (7/20/2006 1:14:00 AM)


    Hell, Michael. The usual compliments are inappropriate indeed to comment on a piece about such a subject. But you have here done it in first class manner, without lecturing; tis all the more thought- (and anger-) provoking for that. Thanks for posting. t x (Report) Reply

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  • (7/20/2006 12:10:00 AM)


    To vote for this poem would be a bloody insult - it's structure and interpretive truth is well beyond pettiness... (Report) Reply

  • (6/10/2006 2:26:00 AM)


    Michael this is a powerful commentary on the third world. You show the innate concern of young children and juxtapose it against the casual indifference of the grown ups. You have certainly painted some disturbing but recognizable images. Thank you. love, Alison (Report) Reply

  • (7/2/2005 7:45:00 AM)


    Of course, this is beyond words. I admire very much how you can convey the reality of the situation so vividly. There is no doubt left that this is an account of real life.
    H
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, July 2, 2005

Poem Edited: Thursday, July 13, 2006


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