Saints and Sinners*

An act of compassionate intervention
From small donations on a widow’s pension
To practical acts of public support,
Those magnanimous gestures in news reports.
The theory suggests we begin at home,
Long before we might seek to roam:
To care for our neighbour as ourselves
Before crossing the waters to lowlier realms.
But, decade on decade, ideas have changed
With media reports to promote and sustain
Attention to causes beyond our ken,
Crisis the same now as it ever was then.
It’s journalists that set the scene
From places where most folk will never have been.
Where cruelty breeds crisis putting lives at stake
And, needless to say, there’s a story to make.
The necessary communication
Of damage and hardship in other nations
A human duty to equalise
And promptly attend to preserving lives.
And so to the business of Mother Teresa:
Lauded by thousands, a compassionate teacher,
While stark the contrast in other dominions
Where critical thinkers reframe opinions.
A controversial tale indeed,¹
Suggesting complicity helped her succeed:
The salving of guilt in a ministering role
A simple transaction for the saving of souls. ¹


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