Upon Seeing a Beggar on the Street Corner

Amongst the to and fro, of a city’s ebb and flow,

One lonely figure lay, her sadness on full display.

My heart to hers it flew, all eyes from hers withdrew,

Her scrawling remained unread, and still for coin she begged.

 

With serest hair as pale as flax, and rips and tears about her slacks,

She sat cross legged and bare of feet, alway  the pavement was her seat.

I saw from far her woeful plight, and her countenance, far from bright;

What could I do but offer aid, to one who had been by fate unmade?

 

I kindly took her side, dull eyes now opened wide,

In plain sight of all, the only one to heed her call.

“Take what little I have to give, though ‘tis hardly ‘nough on which to live”

Quoth I whilst reaching for my purse, as if my coin would lift her curse.

 

A frail hand outstretched for mine, covered  in brown filth and grime,

And in its bony structure I lay, all the coin I had that day.

I curled her fingers to a fist, prest my hands ‘gainst her wrists,

Looked deep into the deep green eyes, the kind most men would often prize.

 

I lingered upon her freckled face, as if a princess by fate misplaced,

Then into those green eyes so round, which swiftly cast she to the ground.

I could tell that once her cheeks were rose, though now they showed the years of woes;

And though her nose remained upturned, still the crowds would only spurn.

 

Her arm fell swiftly to her side, as if by exertion had been made tired,

Then hand met pocket quick as light, and all the coin was gone from sight.

There I thought her to speak her mind, and praise me as not to seem unkind,

But no words from her lips did pass, that sallow and ill fated lass.

 

I did not do it for want of token, only to help one who seemed so broken;

Assistance was its own reward, being human to one who society abhorred.

Before I rose, she met my eye, and her gratitude one could not deny;

Her smile repaid me a thousand fold, worth more than her weight in gold.

 

It was a look of tender love, which her existence was devoid of.

In that instant we made a connection;  one that transcended mere coin collection.

We opened our hearts and I felt her pain, though I knew I would never see her again;

That beggar on the corner of the street, whose life would never again be complete.

 

I often wonder how her destiny unfurled, and how she is fairing in such a cruel world,

And whether or not she ever found peace; or perhaps her own special form of release.

All I know is that moment we shared, was a moment for which I was most unprepared,

For even right now I can see her on the street, the nameless beggar with a smile so sweet.

 

“Man is dear to man; the poorest poor long for some moments in a weary life when they can know and feel that they have been, themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out of some small blessings;  have been kind to such as needed kindness, for this single cause, that we have all of us one human heart.”

William Wordsworth

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3 thoughts on “Upon Seeing a Beggar on the Street Corner

  1. Excellent piece! I really enjoy your usage of the older English word phrasing, it works especially well in this poem. So many of the most intimate moments in our lives transpire without a word, just simply a touch, a look and a feeling!

    • Thankyou so much. I shamelessly try to use archaic language wherever I can haha.
      I agree. I can’t express how much that rings true with me. I often wonder if others I see on the street place a similar value on smiles, looks, and other small tokens of acknowledgement or gratitude.

      • You’re very welcome and there is absolutely no shame in that whatsoever!

        I guess therein lies the truth of that old saying “Actions speak louder than words!” I would imagine that the people you see on the street do place a similar value on those gestures but whether it’s a conscious thing or not depends on the individual. I would say however that a beggar probably appreciates a selfless, kind gesture more than they do sympathetic words because often those words are hollow and meaningless without the action to prove them true!

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