There are few things that upset me as deeply as seeing injustice, especially when it comes to the rich vs. poor dichotomy. So I was particularly troubled when during a trip home, I saw a homeless man treated with contempt and disregard as he tried to get some food from a local supermarket. I was seated in the back seat of my mother’s car, as she was catching up with a close friend seated in front passenger seat. As I looked out of the windshield, I witnessed the scene that inspired this poem:

 

The Humbled Man

 

Today I saw a humbled man.

He walked into a store,

yet they would not receive him in

because of what he wore.

 

He simply sought a loaf of bread

to fill the desperate din

of hunger, and to give him warmth

for he was shivering.

 

They took his arm with rigid force

and ushered him outside;

assured him they would bring him all

his pennies could provide.

 

I watched this man led to the cold.

I witnessed him comply.

He looked as though life struck him down

yet would not let him die.

 

Perhaps tonight when he is fed

and gladly welcomes sleep,

beneath the stars he’ll lay his head

on ground where angels weep.

 

© Shiku Wangombe