“The poor will always be with us,”
Is what I thought, as I dropped
A fiver into his battered paper cup
“Thanks, buddy,” is what he said.
“Have a good day,” and I was on my way.
I’m not trying to big myself up.
Just point out the fear and dread
I feel as I contemplate his fate
And mine, should I fall on hard times.
‘I’ll be kind before it gets too late.’
As Larkin said.
So often, however, I walk on by,
Though hope is in such short supply
And fail this test of empathy.
My wallet was not much lighter
For this act of minor generosity
(I’ll acknowledge some pomposity!)
And yet, when all is said and done,
Why should I stop at only one?
We look right through our brothers
And sisters, sitting on the streets,
Instead of looking them in the eye.
The detritus of so much social chaos
Who could easily be any one of us,
As fellow members of the human race.
Should I judge them, or should I be kind?
What would I want if I were in his place?
And if he was in mine.