Ruth Walters

Quasimodo - Poem by Ruth Walters

The taxi slowed at the lights
and I spotted her.
Our paths crossed again,
for just a short time.

For warmth,
she'd wrap up in newspaper,
shuffling by,
rummaging through bins.

If you spoke to her,
she'd scurry off,
in short, stilted steps,
my little Quasimodo.

All bent she'd
glance, sideways,
scared, but defiant,
swearing at you, cursing

'Bloody bitch'
What d'you want eh!
What d'you want? '
and edge backwards.

On winter days I'd see her
in the café.
She'd trundle in
for scraps and solace.

'Cup of tea? ' they'd say,
she'd never answer,
just grab the cup
and scurry away.

Her hands were callused,
her long, fingernails, dirty
her back, stooped,
that little hump, so sad.

I'd give her a few coins,
so that she'd cheer up,
but often I worry
that's how I'll end up.

Topic(s) of this poem: life

Comments about Quasimodo by Ruth Walters

  • Stephen Katona (6/3/2015 4:17:00 AM)

    This modern day Quasimodo has the appearance of Victor Hugo's creation in the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and is also treated in a similar way by society. Perhaps too she has a kind heart but has learnt not to show it because of the way she has been treated. I highly recommend 'No Fixed Abode' by Ruth which complements this poem very well. (Report) Reply

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  • (9/14/2012 4:35:00 AM)

    Perhaps the root of empathy is seeing others in us and ourselves in the circumstances of others with some reserved concern that we may through inconceivable misfortune become destitute or poverished. Perhaps these are just deep seated insecurities that dog us and prick our conscience and truth be known the reason we are charitable. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, May 25, 2012

Poem Edited: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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