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The Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation

To a gift box of Swiss chocolates

wrapped in pictures of Swiss snowy mountains,
quaint castles, pristine lake scenes
they shoulder so snugly against each other in sealed squares where the alps shelter the smooth brown
chocolate designed to melt on the receiving
tongue wafers of warm bliss give
moments of ecstatic oblivion to all who taste
but this pleasure has no history
in postcard pictures that hide small
children who hugged their mothers
clung to their brown warmth but were cleaved away
and sold somewhere else in Africa where days are
filled with a sun that can melt chocolate and memory
all day these waifs hack small fruits that
hug their mother tree and her limbs
golden pods that enclose the precious cocoa
in the heat drenched night in a crowded hut
their fear and sadness overcome in the thick blackness
they sleep exhausted shoulder to shoulder
oblivious of rats and factories where rivers
of smooth dark chocolate flow into neat forms
and harden for our greed and delight
these captured children sold as slaves
for our succulent desires shrivel, starve,
sicken, beaten and bruised they fall on
hostile foreign ground
an end to pain and hunger would be a benison
as there can be no possibility of relief
never will they savour that worshipped wafer
on their sere tongues, never will see castles
on glacier green lakes snug beside snowy mountains.

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