Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Budget Night - A Parable


And she came walking along the road
and saw a man lying there by the wayside
and at first, like the others, she hurried past,
afraid of going near and touching him
because his skin was red with pustules
and his clothes torn and smelling of piss.
His head was resting on an old coat
and he was clutching a string bag
bulky with what he owned - small things
he carried on the way. She glanced at him
and turned away thinking of her son waiting
at home. He would have the wood chopped
and the fire on in the stove. She would find
the soup hot for her when she arrived. Her feet
were tired and she longed to slip off her shoes
and rest them on the wooden stool and let the warmth
seep in. She sighed. She could not go on.
She turned back to the man
and walked to where he was lying and shook him.
He did not respond at first and she wondered
if he was dead. But one eye opened and regarded her.
It was yellow, streaked with red, cloudy. She proffered
her water bottle and he struggled to sit, then took it.
He drank slowly and wearily. Then he merely blinked at her.
They sat together, by the side of the road, saying nothing
while the light changed and the chill of the Autumn dusk
settled around them. She pulled her shawl tight.

They might have been humps of dirt in the gloom
as the Tax Collector rushed by in his carriage.
The inn was booked and the wine there of good vintage.



12 May 2015

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