Questions and Decisions

the flock comes
and I know all are hungry,
but I only have food
enough for one.
will you judge me harshly
if I only feed one,
when I know all are hungry,
even if enough for one is all I have?

the flock comes
and I know all are hungry.
How do you decide which
to feed
when you only have food
enough for one?
whose need is greater
when all are hungry?
could you make the decision,
to feed one mouth from
your hand, then look
to the others with empty
palms upturned?

I will feed one, though I do not
know which, for I only
have food for one.
you will judge me harshly
for only feeding one,
and condemn me for the choice
I make,
and the one so chosen.


for the image prompt at The Mag


Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

17 responses to “Questions and Decisions

  1. There is a saying that goes something like to “save one life is to save the world” – provocative question in a lovely poem 🙂

  2. Helen

    I agree, you have posed a most interesting question. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we never had to choose?

  3. Meaningful and actually rather touching…

  4. Maybe easier to feed one of 10 anonymous birds than to have to chose between one of 10 well loved pets, or friends… So no harsh judgements Mark, we play the hand we are dealt 🙂

  5. So true.. the choice is difficult and no matter how you do is wrong.. but still better to give to one that ignoring all.

  6. life is full of these hard decisions…choosing the one to save if all you are allowed is one…what a hard place of being to have to make that decision without thinking of all those that are left behind…and hungry

  7. They that are hungry will understand. They know it better than those fully fed.

  8. Very sad & powerful. Well written.

  9. One can only do what they can. If each person fed just one, the flock would not go hungry. To judge someone who did what they could would be counterproductive. Lots to ponder in this piece. Feels almost biblical in its reflections.

  10. We do the best we can, and harsh judgement cannot be made if we’ve tried.

  11. Beautiful…the repeating line works so well…

  12. very cool-cute using those park geese or ducks or birds

  13. I see this being understood on more than one level (birds, people, pastor to his flock, etc) nicely done

  14. By repeating the same words, the same question, you have created a simple yet powerful poem about hunger, which one to feed…? I will not judge you harshly for only feeding one: you had no other choice. Hope the “others”, the unchosen, will understand too.

  15. An enigma wrapped in a metaphor served up to a Christmas conscience – asking if there are ethics in a vacuum, if shame begets charity. Well done.

  16. What a thought-provoking piece – and the repetition, or near-repetition of certain phrases took me round in circles, which reflects the circularity of the question, which doesn’t really have one correct answer.

  17. This is a perfect piece for the season…..:-)

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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