Posted on December 13th, by Chris Morgan in Poetry. No Comments

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InNovember 1994 I went on a Nepalese trekking adventure with my good friend the artist Phil Dutton. We spent the first few days in Kathmandu and as it was our first experience of what we now call the developing world I think it safe to say we were both shocked by the filth and squalor that many humans are forced to live in. I wrote this poem in response to the feelings it gave me.



Filthy people in filthy clothes

Filthy streets with filthy shops

Filthy bloody goat heads on the chopping block

Filthy children with filthy bare feet

Filthy water; be careful what you eat

Don’t come here for a holiday

You’ll think it’s cheap but you will pay


Auto-rickshaw fumes choke, pollute

Roaming cows are sacred but not to me and you

Beggars beg displaying unbandaged, festering stumps

A man with no eyes sits begging by a dump

A woman in rags sitting on the ground

Nursing her youngest as squalid older ones surround

With no hope, no hope, no hope at all

At very best they’ll rise to run a tourist trinket stall

Or if they’re strong and determined they can go off to the hills

To carry rich trekkers’ bags and earn a porter’s spoils

Third world, fourth world

It makes no difference here

Life is hand to mouth

To starve is a real fear

Let Nepal change you, they say

Don’t change it

It’s changed me to see such poverty

I don’t want any part of it

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