Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Unforgiving, Follow-up

Even as I wrote the blog about the little man in the coffee shop, I was aware that many years ago I’d written a poem along the same lines, and was embarrassed, on looking it up and re-reading it, by the fact that I expressed exactly the same disappointment with myself both times, and that despite all the years between, I hadn’t changed.

I hope I’m not risking turning you away with another poem, but I think it complements the earlier blog, and points out our…well, at least my…tendency toward self-delusion when it comes to a desire to change:

She Might Have Been a Statue

She might have been a statue
as she stood there with her dog.
She gave no note as sunbeams
swept away the morning fog.
In her hand, a battered cup;
on her ragged dress a sign
which underscored the obvious:
it simply said “I’m blind.”
I watched the people passing by
as if she wasn’t there;
a sea of stylish outfits
and salon-sculpted hair.
She stood alone, impassive,
lost in some private dream;
an unseen, unseeing island
in a roiling, rushing stream.
And though the street was noisy,
I felt that I could tell
the sound of one coin in her cup
as clearly as a bell.
At last she signaled to her dog,
and they slowly moved away.
It seemed we’d both been on that street
much longer than a day.
I was overcome with anger:
I could not fathom why
no one had stopped to help her—
but neither, then, had I.
I don’t think I’m uncaring;
I hope I’m not unkind.
But one need not be sightless
to be completely blind.
And something deep inside me
was glad she could not see
how totally ashamed I was:
not of her, of me.
I took it as a lesson
from which I learned one fact:
it’s not enough to empathize,
one also has to act.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from and; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/

No comments: