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The Other Side of the Tracks

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Below is the poem entitled The Other Side of the Tracks which was written by poet Elton Camp. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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The Other Side of the Tracks

The Other Side of the Tracks

By Elton Camp

The poor you always have with you”
These words of Jesus are still too true

The folks who read this haven’t known
The cruel nature of poverty of one’s own

That is equally true in my case as well
Just the same, their story I’ll try to tell

For I have seen poverty not so far away
And have heard the things they must say

It’s in a middle-class town where I reside
But penury exists, just not side-by-side

Quite near, just across the railroad track
Live the poor, some white and some black

They remained almost invisible to me
Until I worked census and then got to see

Rooms in a shack sealed with cardboard
As that was the best they could afford

How many baths have you, but never mind
I already saw the crude outhouse just behind

Plank floors, protruding springs in chairs
I’d hate to experience the life that’s theirs

Food stamps and other types of handout
Are the things their life is mostly about

Lacking even a minimum high school degree
Better circumstances they aren’t likely to see

Their children suffer perhaps with silent rage
Drop out of school when they come of age

From this, what could finally come to be
Is it class warfare that we will come to see?

Some few the cycle of poverty will break
But most a success in life will never make

A sad, young girl sits and glumly stares
And wonders if anybody, about her cares

I can only describe what I know to be so 
But a practical solution I just don’t know

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  1. Date: 1/21/2012 10:34:00 PM
    I am from this side and that... it all breaks me... great poem.. thank you for sharing..forever & ever~pd

  1. Date: 1/21/2012 5:44:00 PM
    Elton, this is a very enlightening write. Your couplets are all very descriptive with good rhyming. Overall, a fine output.

    Camp Avatar Elton Camp
    Date: 1/21/2012 7:16:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Hey Robert, Like with most of my writings, this is based on truth. After I retired, I actually did work with the census for a short time. The way some folks live is just incredible. In this town, the railroad track actually is a distinct dividing line between the "haves" and the "have nots." I had, of course, seen the poor housing, but had no real idea of the depth of their poverty.