A Poem from Owen's Visit to Syngenta

For the want of vitamin A


Yesterday the sky was so blue, the grass so very green,

The colours were more vibrant than I had ever seen.


My baby brothers smile so dazzlingly bright,

Against his dark skin, his teeth so very white.


But today the darkness clouds my eyes,

I cannot make out the fields, the clear blue skies.


I cannot see my brother’s dear face,

The cheeky glint in his eyes, his playful ways.


I did not want to believe that it would happen to me,

That at the age of seven, I too would not see.


Although our lives are tough,

We have rice to eat which we thought was enough.


But it’s not enough, the rice we eat is lacking they say,

It is the want of this vitamin A that took my sight away.



There is a type of rice to give enough vitamin A, but it’s GM,

The scientists say it’s safe to eat, but who listens to them.


If you’d listened and this rice had been there for me.

Could I not have been spared this misery?


You don’t listen to us from our World of poverty and shanty.

You listen instead to those from the World of plenty,


Where the shops overflow with fruit, meat and wine,

And so deprived me of my life line.


If you will not listen when I’m blind, then when?

When I am dead, will you listen then?


    Roobina Baloch