The Tramp

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Broken glass lies in the gutter

Discarded by bloody hands

Under a frigid, pale sun

keeping warmth to itself

The tramp stoops to pick a shard

A smear of blood at its tip

Whose blood is it?

A stranger's?

His daughter's?

It could be, for all he knows

It's been so long

Since he failed

Since he let them down

Since he gave up trying

Sometimes, the mind

can be a cruel instrument

to a beating heart

But, could it really be hers?

How would he know?

Years upon years

He reaches inside a pocket

Pulls out a bottle

A swig for comfort

But the shard...

The way it curves

A hint of a label?


The same as the bottle in his hand?

Perhaps, the very same

He sees a tramp in the distance

He drops the shard

But, the bottle bleeds too

His daughter's blood

He throws it to the gutter

It shatters, like his life

He runs to some dank refuge 

A tramp appears, stoops

There's a glimmer in the gutter

There's a glimmer in the gutter

There's a glimmer in the gutter


Picture by Levelat

◄ If Ever I Fall

How It Should Bee... ►


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Stephen Atkinson

Tue 11th Jan 2022 20:42

Thank you for reading & commenting John, John, Holden (I was quite pleased with that line 😁) & Julie.
Sitting in a Costa in Durham, & he walked past, bloodied bottle in his hand, tears in his eyes... We can only guess

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julie callaghan

Tue 11th Jan 2022 13:23

A moving and thought provoking write. Yes I agree Holden, great lines.

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John Botterill

Tue 11th Jan 2022 10:14

Has a 'Waiting for Godot' vibe,Stephen. We all think we are unique, but...
Brilliant poem. Thank you.

Holden Moncrieff

Tue 11th Jan 2022 00:29

This is really gripping, Stephen! I loved the lines
"Sometimes, the mind
can be a cruel instrument
to a beating heart" 🌷

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John Coopey

Mon 10th Jan 2022 22:44

I like the surrealism of this - its circularity and the open-endedness of the narrative.

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