By Patricia A. Fleming

Seven AM and I sat at the light,
Watching the train chugging by.
A day like the rest on the way to my job,
Just routine with no feeling inside.

The morning was frigid and snowy,
Just thinking how cold he must be.
But there I could see him wrapped up on the stoop,
In that blanket he found on the street.

That cold, concrete stoop, at that old, empty store,
The place that for years he called home.
He sat there each day, never meeting your eyes,
Just contented to be left alone.

The weeds by the tracks were his bathroom,
His food was a bottle of wine.
His clothes were all dirty and tattered,
He was drunk or passed out all the time.

To see him you’d think he was no one,
He was barely a man anymore.
A failure to the ones who once loved him,
And a burden to the rest of the world.

But those who once knew him in the days long gone by,
Would tell you how wrong you would be.
For in fact it’s quite true that this lost, broken soul,
Was once just like you and like me.

He woke up every morning in a home of his own,
That he shared with his son and his wife.
He worked every day as a painter by trade,
And thanked God every night for his life.

People who watched him admired his ways,
He was caring and decent and good.
He worked harder than most to provide for his son,
And for neighbors he did what he could.

Life was a struggle and times could be bad,
But he always found strength to go on.
He wanted the best for the people he loved,
Never dreaming that soon they’d be gone.

It happened in winter on a dark, snowy day,
In a storm that that had moved in quite fast.
That his wife ventured forth to pick up their son,
And neither survived when they crashed.

From the day they were buried his friends rallied round,
But he was lost despite how much they tried.
And even today when they speak of him still,
They say it’s as if they all died.

And when I last sat at that light, by that stoop,
I saw he was no longer there.
The store still sat empty and was now boarded up,
And I wondered if anyone cared.

But later I learned on that stoop where he lived,
That place that he once made his home.
He too passed away on one cold winter’s day,
Not forgotten, but still quite alone.

So should you pass by a lost soul such as this,
Be careful how harshly you judge him.
For you can’t ever know the life he’s endured,
Or how much loved he once may have been.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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