No doubt you’ve heard the story
of the soldier traveling through.
How stingy villagers insisted
there was nothing left to eat.
How the soldier promised soup
from a pot of water and a stone.
Curious, they gathered to watch
as he stirred and sniffed
his boiling concoction,
certain to be delicious
with just a bit of carrot
Mrs. A was suddenly able to spare
and the onion Mr. D had in his cellar.
Potatoes appeared. Scraps of meat and salt.
For the first time in months,
no one went to bed hungry.
It’s a story loved in preschool
as we hold hands on the floor
but too often forgotten when
we grow tall enough for taxes—
when we consider how to vote.
Jacqueline Jules is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum, Stronger Than Cleopatra, and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including The New Verse News, Potomac Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Little Patuxent Review, and Gargoyle. She is also the author of 40 books for young readers. Visit www.jacquelinejules.com