Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Beggar

The smiling faces of beggars
Beseeching charity
From exposed street corners
Audaciously revealing
The dirty shame of fortune.

One-legged and half-minded castaways
Loitering in the doorways of enterprise
Appealing to the discomforts
Of those who pass by
Scorning at their ineptitude
with averted eyes.

The “undeserving,” you decry
But not too loudly
Because there are tinges
Of guilt in the proclamation
Which you do not wish to acknowledge.

“What,” you ask, “have these mendicants
Contributed to your well-being?”
“Was it I who ordained them
To their station?”
"Am I the maker
Of the fates...the fates of others?”

You continue on your way
Wondering if it's all a ruse
Just another attempt
To gain something for nothing
And not from need
But just another “business.”

Your walk slows
There is safety now in distance.
In your mind you see the stump of a limb
The smile on the face
Of a mentally handicapped girl
With her hand
Timidly thrust forward
In supplication.

You feel your own
Lack of compassion
Churning within
And seeking to relieve it
You turn and walk back
Towards the beggar
And reach into your pocket
For a few pesos
Which you needed for milk.

Russell Rosander

An artist and poet living in the Costalegre of Mexico Russell Rosander's works were featured in The Art Show at the Louisiana Museum of Art in Humlebaek, Denmark and elsewhere. He is also a co-founder of the Bar None Group and a contributor of poetry and art to both Bar None Group anthologies. You can find more of Russell's writing at Russell Rosander Short Stories where The Beggar first appeared.

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