WHERE DO THEY GO
WHERE DO THEY GO
WHERE DO THEY GO?
Warm summer day Sunday morning family outing
To church to give thanks for God's goodness
That old lady again sitting at the church entrance
All day she collects pennies from parishioners
And maybe a sandwich from a picnic left over
Tossed in a trash can with flies buzzing around
I toss her my sixty five cents small change from my back pocket.
I guess she’s there all day, but at day’s end where does she go?
Maybe a shared old mattress in a wrecked basement up for demolition
Or a shelter for the night run by the Salvation Army
Could be just in the grassy verge of a roadside parking area?
After all it is summer and the nights are not cold really.
Anyhow, it gets dark and she just disappears
Thank God - out of sight out of mind
In the darkness she can’t be seen any more
Makes no impact on my suburban mentality
Doesn’t disturb my late night tv with Letterman
And my nightcap of Johnny Walker before the hot milk and bed.
We chat before sleep my wife and I about the day
And forget the old lady at the church entrance.
She has no Letterman or Walker
No chat with a close one before sleep
A sleep perhaps disturbed by drug addicts stumbling over her in the dark
Or rousted by the cops for trespass, or frightened by stray dogs in a pack.
I can sleep easy, I did my bit with the sixty five cents in my back pocket.
When I was small my mum used to ask where do the flies go in wintertime?
Just to puzzle and amuse me
Of course she didn’t explain that they don’t actually go anywhere
But the cold simply finishes off all those dirty nuisances
And makes the air clean and pleasant
After the summer plagued by those unwanted useless creatures.
Copyright © Sidney Beck