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The Ballad of the Slums

The world hurtles on unmindful Leaving behind those who cannot keep pace So many are under constant grind To earn a square meal a day On deserted streets many roam Their stomachs empty, their bowels growling They have nothing to rejoice, only to grieve For them, joy is an unknown flavor They too are rightful heirs to Nature’s bounty Yet fate decrees for them a dismal course! They are smothered under poverty’s bleak embrace Over their ashen sky, dark clouds gather round In dingy make shift dwellings, Many cram together under tin sheets, Braving the sun and the inclement weather Wallowing in dirt and filth with flies for company They see the stars luminous through cracked roofs And weave dreams of better times But soon their dreams go crashing down Sinking in the knowledge that life is brutally unfair The callously unfeeling men strut past them Deaf to their ballads of sad refrain And their unheard moans die down In the alleys where darkness strangulates light! (Their fate often sparks embers of pain in me)

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022




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Date: 1/20/2022 2:27:00 PM
So powerfully written, with strong images of poverty + despair. To that image, you add another of indifference in the final stanza. Very moving, Valsa. Congratulations! Brian
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Valsa George
Date: 1/21/2022 3:34:00 AM
Glad you feel this poem to be powerful. Thanks a lot Brian for your empathetic response to the poem and your congratulations
Date: 1/20/2022 11:36:00 AM
A poignant poem, Dear Valsa. And I am sure, you have seen the reality of poverty around you. I grew up and had been to countries where we find the constant unfairness of life, and wished I could do something to help. "And their unheard moans die down In the alleys where darkness strangulates light!" these two lines are sad, and heartfelt. Love ~ Mala
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Valsa George
Date: 1/21/2022 3:32:00 AM
We see a lot of disparity and it pains all sensitive people. Thanks a lot Mala, for your lovely comment !
Date: 1/18/2022 4:42:00 AM
I feel so deeply the pain of others. It is a not easy gift from God but better than callousness. God bless you, Valsa. Especially poignant is the next to last verse…then unfeeling men strut past…their unheard moans die down.
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Kim Rodrigues
Date: 1/18/2022 5:42:00 AM
We need to pray, listen to the Holy Spirit so God will guide us to those we can help. Some people are meant for the crowds, some one on one. So much injustice in the world but we must be compassionate of heart and willing and ready to help where we can. I pray with people at church, the past few months. I am so touched by the needs, as well as humbled. God bless you real good.
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 5:18:00 AM
We may not be able to do much for the poverty stricken.... at least be without callousness and contempt for them. That itself is a great thing. To be born rich is not anyone's merit... It is God's blessing . If we are ready to accept it, there will be lesser misdeeds arising out of arrogance. Loved your comment and thanks a lot dear Kim.
Date: 1/17/2022 10:48:00 PM
I can feel your pain. God's grace on them all; help them and heal them. The last line is horrifying ... In the alleys where darkness strangulates light! God forbid, that we are the answer and the reason so many suffer. God, forgive us and help us to Love our brothers. Amen Your friend, Bill
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 2:03:00 AM
Bill I am glad you can see the situation with empathy. If all of us begin to feel that we should be more considerate to our suffering brethren, the problem will lose its present magnitude. Thanks a lot Bill...dear friend
Date: 1/17/2022 10:16:00 PM
Awesome poem, Valsa, yes many underlaying reasons here, and throwing money at the situation does not always work, but many solution do exist, to help build pride in oneself for these unfortunate people, being so much wealth with so few, a miss appropriate balance, time to eliminate such tragedy in this day and age.
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 1:59:00 AM
Yes, no drastic change can be effected all of a sudden. But consistent physical and psychological strengthening can improve the situation. There is excess accumulation of money in some hands. If the gap could be lessened, things will improve... but how? the question remains. Thanks a lot harry for your insightful response.
Date: 1/17/2022 7:36:00 PM
Most Americans have no idea of poverty abroad. A trip to India would cure them. Urban poor here have no idea of what heat beating down on corrugated shacks feels like, or how life goes on with unsanitary water breeding disease and death. ~ gw
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 1:54:00 AM
People in the affluent countries do not know what real poverty is. But In the US too I have seen many homeless people requesting help in streets and also in some corners during my short visit there. I thought even amid splendor, there is poverty and misery ! Thanks Gershon.
Date: 1/17/2022 11:36:00 AM
Wow! Quite a stark, bleak picture your words paint. Phenomenally good poetry! So, what is the answer? Is there an answer? I worked (volunteered) for many years trying to alleviate suffering due to poverty and physical disabilities -- helped ten's of thousands, but barely made a dent. The problems seeming ever present. Other than all mankind (womankind) undergoing a lesser-self lobotomy, I am at a loss. I feel your pain. Blessings my friend. Joe.
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 1:49:00 AM
Indeed it is a bleak situation ! Poverty, lack of work and the pandemic have made starvation even worse... ! When we are in comfort zone, we hardly think of them. So very glad to hear that you have worked for their amelioration .... that's the greatest thing a man can do. May God reward you dear Joe. Thanks a lot !
Date: 1/17/2022 11:09:00 AM
The Kama Sutra makes it clear one should fit in one's pigeon hole and do one's best, which is best for society, but if I had been born "Untouchable", I would have kept walking until I was in touch. Unlike flora, fauna can walk until they find a better life. Religion and mankind have clearly established an helping hand along the way is more of a miracle than a custom! Enjoyed, Valsa! Aloha!
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Rico Leffanta
Date: 1/18/2022 9:56:00 AM
In my experience, people are quite willing to help those who are on the move, but seldom help those waiting for their god to provide relief . . . . .Aloha!
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 1:44:00 AM
Yes, many try to help them.... still not coming to the expected level ! Thanks a lot Rico !
Date: 1/17/2022 9:00:00 AM
Tragic, yet beautifully expressed poem, Vasha. You have a saintly heart, so much compassion for the less fortunate souls that suffer in this callous world. Love and more love always.
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 12:54:00 AM
Though I feel for these hapless people, I am so sad that I haven't done anything praiseworthy to ameliorate their situation. Thank you very much Freddie for your beautiful words....
Date: 1/17/2022 7:20:00 AM
It annoys me how much money and food is squandered in rich nations of the world, the world is full of haves and have nots. Its a disgrace the way mankind treats his less fortunate brothers. Tom
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 12:51:00 AM
When some wallow in wealth, others sink into the slush of poverty ! No justice and all of us are to blame. Thanks a lot Tom.
Date: 1/17/2022 6:10:00 AM
Yet fate decrees for them a dismal course! My friend, your poetry provides light on this human tragedy that you have experienced. The tragic issue is that once those innocent souls are born into poverty, they have no option but to suffer. Kindest regards Valsa
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 12:49:00 AM
In some northern states of India, the degradation of the poor is unimaginable. Money accumulates in certain pockets. Thanks a lot Lassad for your empathetic response.
Date: 1/17/2022 5:09:00 AM
So many suffer this way--your poem sheds light on this human tragedy my friend. The sad part is those innocent lives have no choice once born in poverty. No easy exit. I like the metaphor of your last line.
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Valsa George
Date: 1/18/2022 12:46:00 AM
Yes, many have no other choice in life than suffer and suffer endlessly ! The disparity grows despite all attempts to see everyone on an equal plane at least in their right to life. Thanks a lot Vijay !
Date: 1/17/2022 1:54:00 AM
Millions of people die of hunger. Millions of kilos of wasted food thrown away. This is so unfair and so few ready to help. In Malta we too have some homeless people and we have to provided them with food. But in India the problem is much bigger. Pertinent poem.
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Valsa George
Date: 1/17/2022 3:37:00 AM
Yes, so much food is wasted, while many starve. It is a criminal offence.... though many refuse to think in that line. The death of innocent children because of poverty and malnutrition is so unbearable. Thank you Victor for sharing your thoughts.
Date: 1/17/2022 1:25:00 AM
Yes my sister. My only visit to India seared those truths in my heart too. Atman, Brahma Swaroop, I am THAT I AM ...A but Jesus warned us, John 17, In this world u will have tribulation ... "The poor you will always have with you." He's just
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Valsa George
Date: 1/17/2022 3:42:00 AM
In India, there is the problem of over population and escalating poverty rate. Life in the slums of Calcutta and Bombay is very miserable. Some efforts are initiated by good hearted people and some voluntary organizations. Yet the problem remains unaddressed as there is so much of corruption . Thanks Anil....