Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tugging feverishly at his conscience

                                                                                                  Attribution:  Evstafiev
Image: A Hungry Child (here)

“I am cold,
even though the heat of early summer is adequate.
I am cold because I cannot find my heart.”  - Sebastian Barry
-  to write a poem inspired by the above

Much to his dismay
Not wanting to reveal his weakness
He had been warned of the risks
of being too taken up with sympathy

But a sudden surge worked on him

Seeing the little girl barely nine
Following him with her baby brother
looking tired and hungry in her arms

He wanted to but he had been warned
If he succumbed to his feelings
by giving a dollar or two
the next minute the whole crowd would be trailing him
Wanting some of the same
The strategy of beggar street urchins

No, he must seek relief to alleviate his coldness
Tugging feverishly at his conscience
It went unheeded for a time through his system
He scrambled to find his heart
He was lost
He took the gamble and gave in

He shoved it into the hands
What a dollar could do
She beamed a big smile!
It made his day
He then whisked himself into the shadows
away into the crowd 
before word could get around
Happy for doing a favor to his deflated guilt!

For Walter's at d'Verse's 5th anniversary celebration
Part 3  - laurie kolp & a summer continuance


  1. A touching and provocative poem, Hank. A superb interpretation of the prompt!

  2. Very touching. I am not much in crowds of beggars and the hungry and have often been annoyed by panhandlers when I used to work in the downtown area. But I do work with the hungry in my retirement working cooking in the kitchen, putting together the meals for Meals on Wheels delivery and for breakfast/lunch program for kids. It is rewarding and gives much satisfaction as I see the stacked meals going out in the back of cars and SUVs. I also share my produce for them when I have excess in my garden. I met one of the senior ladies who was given one of my whole tomatoes as a treat. I still see her face as she cradled that tomato like a child. Anyway Hank, moving write and excellent thoughts in it.

  3. Excellent narrative and take on the prompt. Have been in places where this happens. It breaks one's heart to see hunger and poverty multiplied by crowds. The face, eyes, out reached hand of one is simply the proverbial tip of the problem and we try, we try, and then we see the vastness of the problem. So very hard to reconcile that so many can have so little.

  4. Oh yes.. so hard when you feel you have to resist... fortunately most of the beggars here are not children... and we do not have another coming... but yes I have seen it, and it does turn you cold.

  5. Very heartwarming it is hard to walk away in such cases.
    Well done Hank on this well written and beautiful verse.

  6. Some cases are harder to walk away from than others, thanks to all the fakes mostly.