Thursday, 15 June 2017

souls and human beings


she walked down the street median … passed the row 
of idling cars that would have raced by her, 
but for, the bright red orb that signalled:  stop

she held a cardboard sign ‘pregnant – need money for food’ …
I could not tell, if the gloom upon her old young face 
reflected anger or hate or sadness or pain or all of it

it is impossible to move around this manic city without anguish … 
without words like ‘souls’ and ‘human beings’ tumbling 
across your mind, like tosses of dice in a game of craps

she caught me … staring at her through the window …
and I sheepishly cast my eyes down – for I knew the look I wore
expressed my shock and frightened thoughts of the fate 
that awaited the unborn child … if there was an unborn child

she came up to my car door, as if she’d been summoned
and, rolling down the window, I pressed a blue five bucks 
into a limp and grimy hand … wondering … if I’d just been played … 
as if such speculations have a place … where human beings beg

Sketch:  A Study of a Woman’s Hands – Leonardo da Vinci –  c. 1490 (Public domain) 

© 2017 Wendy Bourke

27 comments:

  1. What a scene! What an experience! Brought to life. We are there with you.

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  2. A fabulously sketched poem and relatable experience. Excellent.

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  3. I see the beggars every day... we have them coming from eastern europe, and all of them have a story to tell.. i cannot tell if it's true or not, I just know that they are coming here...

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  4. I think you did the right thing, Wendy. You trusted your instincts. If you had not given money to her, you would have been haunted from that time on. There really are so many sad stories like this. Breaks my heart.

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  5. Well, the flip side is where you see so much of it and so often, you start becoming immune..you stop seeing. The world is quite a horrible place for most of its people, just surviving, looking for the next meal.

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  6. This might be one of the saddest things I've read in a very long time, and the most human things too. I've been there, looking with shock and suspicion... and shame. It's hard not to in NYC, I think. And it shouldn't have to be.

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  7. How beautifully you wrote this Wendy, it doesn't matter whether you were conned or not, you just showed you were a compassionate human being.

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  8. "it is impossible to move around this manic city without anguish … " This is the present state of the world. I won't be surprised if that person is a victim of violation. So sad.

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  9. Cities are always hard on the heart. Suffering becomes so street-level. How does one love the world with so much of its dying on display?

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  10. Not an enviable position to be in for sure

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  11. You have captured that moment so vividly, I often find myself in this position, pondering to give or not to give. I usually follow my instincts and hope I've made the right decision.

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  12. The giving is good, and what she does with it is hers....i always give, too, hoping it helps. I fear for that baby, if there is a baby.

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  13. Luv that you chose the role of compassion, in this game of souls

    much love...

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  14. It is always a guessing game. Some of them have Cadillacs parked around the corner, and some of them are truly needy. You showed compassion, perhaps an example to one of either type. Beautifully written, in a way with which we all can identify.

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  15. This is so incredibly evocative. Whenever I am faced with this situation I wonder to myself whether or not to lend them a helping hand, some are truly needy while others aren't. In the end our compassion gives in. Beautifully penned.

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  16. I have so little money, and do spare some to support a couple of charities, that I seldom give., In fact, have always been taught not to give handouts in the street s the recipients are most likely going to go and spend it on drugs. So when I was visiting my family in Melbourne one xmas, and a middle aged woman approached me in the street to ask if I could spare any money, I just smiled and said, 'Sorry, no' as usual, and she went on her way without further remark. But she has haunted me since (just as Mary says you would have been) because when it was too late I realised: here I am being totally looked after by my family, not allowed to spend a cent while I'm here, and I didn't even give her a few dollars – who the hell am I to judge and refuse? I believe it was the wrong decision in that case, and a lasting regret. I am just lucky not to live in a city, where I might have to face such decisions more often. I think in a case like the young woman you encountered, better to give her the benefit of the doubt. It would have to be some kind of desperation to prompt such begging.

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    1. I agree, Rosemary. Years ago I would sometimes pass by when I was asked for money - but I, too, found it bothered me long after I had walked away. Now I always give (other than those rare times when I don't have any money on me). I don't believe human beings want to beg. I figure - they're begging - how much lower must they get in order for me to extend a little charity - and if, in the unlikely event that they aren't desperate, they certainly could benefit from an act of kindness.

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  17. Very solemn piece capturing the very essence of life, longing, charity, and the pursuit of everything in between. Thanks for sharing and greetings to you!

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  18. This is a very sad story, and you know, it ain't supposed to be that way, as Willie would sing. I try to always have a little money in my purse to give to those who ask. You never know when you give to charities, if it really gets to those who need it. I try to look at this as an opportunity. No, I can't fix it, but maybe help someone a little.

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  19. Sometimes I can't give, I have nothing, but I try to remember there is always someone who needs a little help, get a little cash back at the grocery. I am sure, it is a humbling experience to have to ask for help.

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  20. The devil is in the details, and you've made this whole complicated yet common scene come alive.

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  21. You captured the heartbreaking scene Wendy ~ I work in the city and there are lots of homeless people on the streets ~ I wonder sometimes if its for real or genuine (as I see them everyday, in the same spot) ~ You did your part ~

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  22. This scene plays out all over the planet everyday and all we can do is wonder...bkm

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  23. What a kind, sensitive soul you are.

    Love the illustration too. Did you create it?

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  24. Awesome blog, i always enjoy & read the post you are sharing!
    Thank for your very good article...!

    ตารางคะแนน

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