Tonight it could be you

—John Anstie
Always in the way, in line of sight, a breed apart
littering the streets like inconvenient broken bags 
of warn out clothes and rain-soaked cardboard.
It’s all right to ignore them; they brought it on
                                                                        … themselves

Our way is best. Respect earned the hard way. 
Why can’t they see the virtue of a Protestant ethic?
These foreigners, incomers, low caste, outcast, black
brown, yellow, red, native, all comers and, yes
                                                                                 … white

entitled upstarts get fat and lazy; love bossing the blind
like the noble Shire who, blinkered, cannot see the whip
like slaves, to earn their keep, their salt, their corn or 
cotton
know their place, like goldfish in an unfurnished bowl
                                                                              … uneducated!

Wondering why they seem to know nothing; have 
nothing?
A disadvantaged cerebral cortex, almost unconscious
of their need for help that rarely comes in time, save 
a coin, for a cup of makeshift anaesthesia, a sort of
                                                                                  … solution.

Aren’t we all strangers. Each of us an insular spec on 
this precious Earth, a mote in the eye of the universe,
plagued by starvation, strife, poverty, climate and tears
corruption, indifference, immunity to hardship
                                                                                  … greed

Do you see eye to eye on every issue with your friends?
agree with your neighbours on the way to keep house?
Do they agree with you, will they ever, will you ever?
How then can broken, ragged human life be so
                                                                             … different?

But they do! They do work hard to stay alive. Deprived 
of something, maybe a failed family, diminishing vision 
of a life fulfilled, but lost somewhere along the way. 
There
but for a mutation of genes, environment and fortune
                                                                              … forbidden.

The title was inspired by the lyrics of Paul Simon’s song ‘Homeless’, a collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the Graceland album in 1986. The alternative refrain to “homeless, homeless …” half way through the song is “Strong wind destroy our home, many dead, tonight it could be you.”



Poem ©2020 John Anstie
All rights reserved

Author:

The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

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