Big Issue

December 30, 2016


Here is a woman tells me of her child

And loitering in a street beside a grocer’s store

Indigent sells cheap magazines to make ends meet

One step from beggary, two steps from dearth

She weaves her tale around a bare contingency

Ailing in care her six weeks child resides

Her feigning years incongruous with her age and wornness

Assume her plaints baldly implausible

The child’s bad heart a much affecting sorrow

On she whose means to travel costs curtail

Surgeons address her infant’s ills some distant miles away

And hence her vagrancy

And should it matter that I doubted, looked absurd

Handing her coins beneath a closing winter light

Too, too, unmerciless to test with questions whether

This aged she should have a child so new?

Others around me wiser, more unyielding folk

Might make a snigger, smile behind wry face

Knowing me hoodwinked, sanguine of their place,

Hereunto this afffair

Or was it weak and silly to condone

And go along thus happily with her stories

As offence to God and man and should one be chary

Of giving any thing to anybody?

This etiquette of triage of integrity

Testing one’s foolishness against a common decency

Who is it sees the heart, divides it nicely

Without infractions?

One’s own self’s situation asks as much as hers

Calls into question similar sharp mitigations

Laundering our faults with the lathers of persuasions

From one’s bad heart before the fact we err

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