Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

Refugee Mother And Child by Chinua Achebe

No Madonna and Child could touch
that picture of a mother's tenderness
for a son she soon would have to forget.
The air was heavy with odours

of diarrhoea of unwashed children
with washed-out ribs and dried-up
bottoms struggling in laboured
steps behind blown empty bellies. Most

mothers there had long ceased
to care but not this one; she held
a ghost smile between her teeth
and in her eyes the ghost of a mother's
pride as she combed the rust-coloured
hair left on his skull and then -

singing in her eyes - began carefully
to part it… In another life this
would have been a little daily
act of no consequence before his
breakfast and school; now she

did it like putting flowers
on a tiny grave.

Last few words: 
A poem written by Chinua Achebe during the Biafra war. It is for the Workshop on West African Poems, and I have posted it on the Stream because the Workshop option keeps reading "None."
Editing stage: 


I think this poem depicts a scene of children left in total abandonement by mothers in a refuge camp.But not this particular one who would do anything for her child inspite of how slim his survival appears.

the Biafran war, it affected the eastern children in those days, I had always known that war is not an issue to advocate for

always remember to make a critique of other poems
using the hoe is not madness for nothing

i felt as if i were an intruder, and even a little ashamed of witnessing it. perhaps that was it's objective. i'll say no more.

(c) No copyright is claimed by Neopoet to original member content.