Saturday, August 26, 2006
Blaze now under an unforgiving summer sun,
To freeze, come February, solid against shuffling feet;
Pulsing concrete arteries,
Flowing asphalt veins carry life along to
For wavering, too-often futile purpose.
Barreling along toward a day’s mission,
Others stalling, lingering at corners,
Seeking small refuge, a pause to know, to obtain;
Food, a concern to all—some for too much,
Many others for much too little.
Children in tow or nearly unattended,
Wide-eyed with wonder,
Pushed hard against pain, hope, hunger, fullness,
Whatever arrives, the next thing;
Holding onto adults, not knowing where the path ends,
Not caring—for this is not what children
Are born to do.
Work needing doing,
Focused folk with clear assignments,
And, to those who seek anything to fill a day,
To bring a check for getting by, there is hope;
To form a career, to feed a kid,
To have a home,
To avoid city streets for at least a night, again.
Streets fill up and overflow with sounds,
Music—too loud a celebration;
Old cars with smoke and squealing tires;
Children laughing, crying, playing;
Breaking glass, roaring buses, gliding trains,
Popping shots--cruel, automatic, rapid fire--destination unclear,
Add fear to those who hear, listening for such.
Church bells ring, calling some faraway faithful to pray,
While just outside on an old, low, failing wall,
Those without church or home or fitting clothes or recent bath,
Sit and watch parishioners march toward holiness;
Ignored by all but a rare few,
Not simply too busy, but so unattached
To this sort of thing or matter that
No space remains for caring.