The Tragedy of Charity

The tragedy of charity is not
teaching a man to fish but serving
fish each and every night, unbidden
or, if teaching, never graduating a
student, never letting go, never
allowing the gratitude to subside
to ebb and wane…for without it
our guilt grows, our disdain unhides
our ambivalence…it is us

The tragedy of charity, the failure
when we give, is the imposition of
our wishes, the weight we offload
on those that receive our guilt, our
concern, our heart-felt…the
tragedy is that rarely do we ask, do
we require response and in the end
of ends, we are doing nothing for
them and everything for us.

The tragedy of charity is a mean
shadow, a distinct smell, a sad
moment sitting waiting for rebirth
for rescue but ignored, displaced
it can do nothing but hurt…we
never look where the missiles of
our largesse land the damage
done the sorrow caused by how
nice we are to our fellow man

The tragedy of charity is that by
raising ourselves, we step on the
necks of those below and feel, yes
demand, that they look up with
wide eyes with grateful sorrow
with…the tragedy is not that there
is not enough to go around but
that the price we demand from
those below is paid for with their lives

The tragedy of charity is that we,
so kind and thoughtful, never think
beyond giving, we never imagine
beyond charity because receiving
people as equals as partners as friends
denies us the ability to offload the
weight, outsource our guilt…and be
the kind gentle folk we aspire to be

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