A Starfish in the Sea
by Kirk Taylor
When God was handing riches out to nations of the Earth,
Our very own, America, was blessed beyond the rest
For in His generosity He granted us from birth,
The power, land, and untold wealth afforded to the best.
And while we were quite fortunate in all that we’d obtained,
We somehow felt unsatisfied, despite our lack of need.
For in our excess, we would take for granted all we’d gained,
And in our zealous want of “things” consume ourselves with greed.
We were the full, yet unfulfilled, the fed, yet still we starved.
The best just wasn’t good enough, and so we longed for more.
We lived our lives, quite unaware, that somewhere God had carved
His presence in a different place, that wasn’t rich, but poor.
A place forsaken, so it seemed, a nation left alone,
To struggle without any friends to ease its wretched pain,
To wither in the barren ground of sterile seeds it’d sewn,
Abandoned now, the lonely fields of unsought sugarcane.
There is a land called Haiti where the riches were not sent.
Where poverty and misery exist on every street
Where people suffer every day, where lives are quickly spent
Where life’s a challenge, life’s a chore, and life seems incomplete.
With houses built from scraps of tin and trash that lines the street,
And then there’s those who haven’t any place to call their own.
They simply roam the crowded roads on bruised and blistered feet,
To face each day that’s thrown at them and struggle on, alone.
There is a land called Haiti where the nights are long and bleak.
Where hunger pangs are commonplace and food consumed in haste.
Where clothes are worn-out hand-me-downs that wear from week to week,
And children splash in riverbeds of muck and human waste.
Amid the few bestowed with much the many go without.
A slum of half a million knows this better than the rest.
Inaptly named “Sun City”, lives a people cast in doubt;
A sprawling sea of misery where life is grim at best.
For in this urban wasteland are the ones we’ve left behind,
The brothers and the sisters who have fallen from the ranks
They march in shadows, dark and deep, and yet they still remind,
The better-off to pause at times and give a little thanks.
For when you haven’t anything, you’ve nothing left to lose
And when you’ve hit the solid ground the only way is up,
These people live in misery, yet still they won’t refuse
A friendly smile, a warm hello, a handshake, or a hug.
There is a land called Haiti where the hope is never thin,
Where hearts are strong and struggle on regardless of the odds
Where people are a testament to never giving in,
Receiving strength from family, friends, and most important, God.
There is a land called Haiti where the riches lie instead
In helping out your fellow man and giving what you’ve got,
In spreading joy to troubled souls where happiness is dead,
And knowing that a little bit can also mean a lot
For as the “Starfish” saying goes, to save if only one,
Would matter to the very one you’d spared a bitter end.
This message goes for Haiti where we’ve only just begun
To rescue one by one those souls so they might live again.
NOTE: Kirk Taylor, a 17-year-old parishioner at Church of the Nativity in Burke, Virginia, traveled to Haiti in August, 2002 with his pastor, Fr. Richard Martin and 12 parishioners. His twin brother, Brett, also made the pilgrimage, sponsored by Food For The Poor. Kirk wrote this piece immediately on returning from a week’s stay in Haiti, where he visited orphanages, hospitals, feeding stations and “Nativity Village,” where his parish’s Operation Starfish® is building homes for poor slum dwellers.