Pavement Dwellers - Poem by Om Chawla
Stepping out of a tavern in tipsy state
Past midnight, half conscious and half in daze,
Struggling to find some space
He staggered along the pavement by the road;
Finally finding some stretch to lie
He slinked between the two who already lay
And nudging them further for more space
Among those homeless dwellers there he lay.
Struggling to cover themselves with gaping rags
Pulling it over the face when legs would expose,
In covering the legs street light's glare won't let them doze,
Shrunk in a huddle then dormience they find.
A hard concrete pavement is their restful place,
Burning hot in summer, chillier on cold wintry nights
And when it rains there is no place to hide.
Sniffing for food mongrels often sneak around
Among the half fed pavement dwellers it is hardly ever found.
A hiding place for petty criminals on the run
Or a shelter for some forsaken and deprived one.
Strange is the world of pavement dwellers at night,
Where all the ribaldry is indulged beneath the open sky.
What is this life in society so civilized?
Meaningless is right to equality, absurd human rights
When a doyen of civilized world in inebrieated state
Comes flying on his four wheeler unmindful of poors' fate
And liberates some souls from this miserable plight
Some space in the pavement gets vacated for a while
A multitude is eternally in wait
It will soon be occupied there won't be empty space.
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