2007 - 2022

Poem of the week : Food Banks

Food Banks

I’ve started buying two of things
one for you, one for me. Every time
I put something in our trolley I see a mouth
saying thank-you. It helps when I can picture you.

I love the way you sing to your children
and how they sing the same song
when they’re walking to school, just the two of them
and I love the way they understand

when you explain they can’t have everything
but there will be treats, sometimes, I promise.
My dad doesn’t believe in foodbanks
which is nice for him I suppose

but I can feel hungry people all around me,
their toes are cold in their small bedrooms
with no heating and I know it’s not grubby faces
being washed in tin baths but it’s just not right.

Nice coffee for me, nice coffee for you
no-one deserves the own brand stuff.
How little we need, how much we waste,
no-one should ever eat without smiling.

I’ve been saying I’ll lose weight one day
and now I’ve found a reason.
One less for me, one more for you,
life-affirming algebra.

You are hungry and I am full
so let’s snap this Kit Kat in two
a bit for me, a bit for you.
My grandad’s next-door neighbour

still leaves a four pack of Guinness
on his doorstep sometimes.
Not for any reason,
apart from he knows he really likes Guinness.



John Osborne is a poet who writes books, scripts and stories. He created the sell out Edinburgh show John Peel’s Shed and has written and performed six half hours storytelling shows for Radio 4. His latest show, My Car Plays Tapes, is on at Summerhall on 11th and 12th August, and you can watch it online as part of Summerhall’s digital fringe.

Comments (1)

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  1. babs nicgriogair says:

    Poets tackling real shit. Brilliant , OK , so supermarkets are part of the problem re: our broken food system in the UK, but i am constantly humbled by the generosity of people in my local hood who will always donate , cos it’s about solidarity and we could be next. Support your local independent shop if you can afford. Keeps money in the hood – local multiplier effect – instead of feedng distant shareholders.

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