Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Sometimes Dawn Is A Long Time Coming

In 2010, a set of unforeseen and unexpected circumstances once forced a close friend of mine to walk the streets of London all night. In my younger days, fate dealt me a similar hand. 

More than once, I have forgotten or lost my keys and been unable to contact friends who either kept my spare keys or would have gladly helped out in such an emergency. At first, I’d panic. In no time, however, I would become philosophical and resolve to make the best of a bad situation. Eventually, though, I confess I’d be past caring.

My friend said he’d felt much the same way. Even so, we agreed that the experience was a learning curve. Moreover, neither of us will ever observe people sleeping rough on park benches (or wherever) during the day, probably having walked the streets all night, in quite the same light again.

Every town and city has its share of homeless people. For my friend and me, it was really no big deal, but for homeless people it is a way of life. What kind of indictment is that on this 21st century of ours? These people need help, encouragement, and incentive to be integrated back into mainstream society albeit, it has to be said, the same society that let them down in the first place...Is it any wonder then that, vulnerable as they are, many are driven to alcoholism and other forms of drug addiction?

This poem is a villanelle.


No wanderer more alone than I,
heartbeat fading fast;
weary streets, indifferent sky

Tears cornered by the inner eye,
defiant to the last;
no wanderer more alone than I

Old Man smiles, asks not why
I look to the past;
weary streets, indifferent sky

Ghosts, anxious to probe and pry,
midsummer night’s die cast;
no wanderer more alone than I

Nature stirs, world reborn, a cry
and dark ghosts dispersed;
weary streets, indifferent sky

Lost and found, the will to try
my best nor fear the worst;
no wanderer more alone than I,
weary streets, indifferent sky

[London: August  2010]

Copyright R. N. Taber 2010

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