She doesn't ask much of life poor Lily Palmer
Just a small cabin by the Gippsland sea
Where she might sleep and from the weather shelter
'Your dreams are small when you're in poverty'.
Her life's belongings in a shopping trolley
She push it up through Bourke Street Mall each day
A tattered figure amongst the wealthy shoppers
She show her years in wrinkles and in gray.
Some look at her with looks of human pity
Whilst some with looks of scorn ask who is she?
But she has learnt to cope with disapproval
Nor does she welcome looks of sympathy.
The Salvation Army give her food and clothing
Without their help by now she may be dead
And she sleep on hard bench at Spencer Street Station
I do not envy Lily her cold bed.
She's sixty six too old for the rough lifestyle
And far too old for sleeping in the damp and cold
Life's never easy for the poor and needy
And so much harder for the poor and old.
It has been said she has a son and daughter
And that she has not laid eyes on them for years
She raised them on her own when times were better
But for her past she doesn't shed any tears.
Faces of wealth and affluence all around me
And amongst them the face of poverty I see
Through Bourke street Mall poor Lily slowly shuffles
Indifferent to both scorn and sympathy.
Still she has her dream and her dream seem quite modest
A small cabin in Gippsland somewhere by the sea
Where she might sleep and shelter from the weather
Your dreams are small when you're in poverty.
Francis Duggan's Other Poems
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