Bernedita Rosinha Pinto
A Poor Man's Life - Poem by Bernedita Rosinha Pinto
Don’t cry if you cannot live to see another day
but try to free your weary soul from dismay,
don’t hang on to life but accept your fate
don’t come back to live that street life again;
you have slept in the coldness of the nights
you have not eaten food for days
the hunger pangs have exhausted you;
as you lie in a coma now
your heartbeats fluctuate like glow-worm's light.
No friends to hold your hand
no foes to steal your hidden bags
no one knows what you are feeling
no one knows what you are thinking
no one wants to understand what you want to say
whether you wish to wait or go.
At no bus-junctions have you to sit and wait
at no train stations have you to beg
at midnight no dogs to chase you and bark
if you stop to respire and perish now;
but if you get that second chance to live again
you will still not change your direction
you will still choose to be a beggar
as that has been your temptation over years,
for ruthless has been your luck and options.
How much more alms can you collect?
how much more can pity assist you?
how much more can you desist from begging?
your age has forgotten the duty of strength,
you have yourself forgotten to be the little ant
who slowly stocks its providence for rainy days.
By meager alms, meager food, scanty clothes
and with an old blanket on dirty pavements
you have passed your days, drinking heavily
to forget the remorse of being a beggar.
yet, how it hurts to see you fighting for your life,
your unshaven face in extreme pain, struggling
as your chest keeps rising up and down
your pulse keeps diminishing unwillingly.
How much I want to see you at the corner of our street
blinking at the hot sun, calling out my name
thanking me whenever I dropped a coin in your bowl.
But alas, you cannot refrain yourself from dying now
cause death itself has sat by your bedside
and has extended before you its begging bowl.
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