Sunday, October 10, 2010

Street Scene


A beggar with a wide flat back, bent to tie
what’s left of his shoes, laces foul, nails gone,
smelling for all the world like human rust,
and I, a lamp post anchored to this spot,
painted like a song to resemble steel,
desperately in need of hands.


Update:
“Street Scene” added to Poems, Slightly Used.

5 comments:

Jean Spitzer said...

Beautiful.

martinealison said...

Beaucoup trop de mendiants à mon goût, malheureusement!! On pourrait tous perdre pied demain, c'est affolant d'y penser... Ce qui est affolant aussi c'est de s'apercevoir que tous les mendiants se ressemblent. Ils ont non seulement plier leur cravate ... mais ils ont enfoui leur âme au plus profond d'eux-même... Ils ont tout perdu...
Bises

Jan said...

A beggar? Maybe not by choice but by a loss of work, a loss of his self respect. The lamp post cared for and "painted like a song", cared for by man more than his fellow human. Does the lamp post want hands so that he can help the beggar, maybe hold him up in his weakness because he hasn't eaten in days or does he want to place these hands like man would on his hips and tell the beggar "move on because you disgust me! I have no legs and must stay here, so it must be you that moves on".

Your words really got me thinking today William...

RUDHI - Chance said...

A Clochard speaks in his dream...

William Michaelian said...

Well, now, this is an interesting coincidence, four artists responding to this poem. Or is it?

Thank you, Jean, Martine, Jan, and Rudhi.

I’m inclined to think we’re all beggars to a certain degree. We all have our hands out, and we’re asking for something, though not necessarily in a material sense. Really, there is no “we” or “they.” The street beggar, the one in rags for whatever simple or complex reason, the one we pity, fear, or shun, lives in all of us, and we remain as helpless before him as a lamp post, or as we are sometimes when we look back at ourselves from the mirror.