Who Loves the Girl with the Dancing Black Eyes?
Have you seen the girl with the dancing black eyes?
With the bubbles of laughter,
And chuckling stomach thrust forward
In mischievous game.
An exuberant bundle of fun.
Who provides for the girl with the dancing black eyes?
What cost the torn red dress patterned with white?
Do you sell your body,
Abandon safety and pride to a willing stranger?
Or do you wear down sore fingers
Making rugs from rags?
Or is it begged from tourists,
With outstretched hand and pitiful eyes
And gentle tugs at their clothes?
Who cares for the girl with the dancing black eyes?
Who pulls back her fringe with elastic hair band?
Gives her food and cuddles
And notices should she wander?
Who knows her feet are sore and red
As she dances over rubbish strewn paths?
Who shelters her from rain,
Who loves the girl with the dancing black eyes?
When we were in Mumbai, David visited the surrounding slums to see some of the work that Tearfund is doing. I was ill and stayed in the hotel room but when he returned, I could see from the tension in his face that he had seen some sad sights. As he carefully removed his clothes and sealed them into a plastic bag, I could guess at the hygiene standards in the slum.
We then looked at his photographs. He had taken several of a ‘street’ in the slums and there was the little girl. We have no idea who she is, but she is clearly having a laugh and teasing someone inside the make-shift house. She is laughing with her whole being. Something about her tugged at my heart. Every fibre of my maternal being wanted to take her home, wash and dress her and take her to school. Clearly it was more appropriate to instead give money to a charity that could improve her situation in her own home but I cannot forget her. She is the screen saver on my computer and reminds me that when I think life is hard, I do not really know what ‘hard’ is. When I raise money to be used in India, it is her laugh that motivates me.
You can read more of Tearfund’s work in Mumbai at tearfund.org
If you enjoyed this poem, you might enjoy: