Friday, 5 December 1997

Paris Poor


a pile of rags centered on the path
the crowd parting to avoid
the out-thrust dirty paper cup
clutched in a barely human hand

i walk past, confused at first
and glancing down
within can see a few lonely coppers
and then i'm past and free

what face hides shamed within these rags
a mother, worn and haggard?
cast out from some undone home
once built upon others older sins?

i feel the coins in my pocket now
like lead
and lead my heart is too
i turn and rushing guilty back
drop another nothing
and leave

a voice, thin and muffled
as from a tomb maybe
offers humble thanks
for what i see as nothing more
than a price to escape my own guilt

for if i have not made this world
who has?

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