Saturday, February 27, 2010

Poem - Contemplation

I wrote this poem after contemplating how we sometimes can feel so saddened by the stories on the news, but not feel an equal pain for the outstretched hand of a man on the street.


Give me peace, give me pain,
Give me penance for a life so vain.

With one hand full of pride and derision,
I point my finger and cast my aspersion.

The crippling cry from an upturned face,
The sign of lost hope in a downcast gaze,
Do not move me, do not touch me.

Yet, I cry for the wars and the fires that rage,
I cry for the death by the hand of a knave,
But I do not move; I dare not touch.

With eyes that absorb the media’s glare,
I glance askance with an absent air;
Still he asks for my hand and my pocket of change,
To lift him above the ubiquitous plane.

And then one day,
 I dare to give, I dare to live.

My heart beats once then two then three,
I see the man, I set him free.

Give me peace, give me pain,
Give me penance for a life so vain.


  1. Perfectly stated. This is something I think about often. Some of it has to do with the media and the dramatic emphasis in its presentations. Some of it must have to do with our capacity to take in pain, or not, and our fears. Your poem is a gentle, profound push toward compassion for the human being in front of us, equal to the one on the screen.

  2. Thank you. I am far from perfect in my own actions. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to make a difference. I guess we just have to keep at it.

  3. We do have to keep at it. Sometimes I give to beggars and sometimes I "ignore" them. It's very hard to know what to do. I would feel better if I thought my taxes helped take care of folks, but I know they do not very well. Street people really need much more than a handout tho, they need full service care to get them on their feet. So, what does one person do?

    Thanks for the thought provoking post.