C Richard Miles
Season's Sentiments - Poem by C Richard Miles
This crisp November morning, clear and keen,
The folk wrapped up in mufflers on my bus.
While woolly hats of every hue and shade
Adorned their heads, above soft, gaudy scarves
An aged relative bought them last birthday.
Cocooned in dufflecoats and anoraks
And cable-knitted chunky aran sweaters,
They are inoculated from the chill
And miss, out on the street, a huddled shape,
A scrap of poor humanity, that shivers,
As, hunkered down, inside a dirty duvet
Tucked in a grubby sleeping bag, he dreams
Of warmth he cannot hope to have today.
He spent the previous frosty night outdoors
As countless others in the years before
When he slept rough on London's ugly pavements.
And though he wears perhaps more swaddling layers
Of grimy garments to keep out the weather
Than we, who sit, and dare complain of cold
Upon the rattling number 243,
No man-made fabric or more natural fleece
Or cloth can ever insulate this man
From ice-knife bite of our indifference
As we sail by impervious to his lot.
In this season, the run-up to Christmas,
We ought to pause amid the present-buying
And scribbled sentiment of shop-bought cards
We send each year, by rote, to massed relations
We haven't heard from since this time last year,
And think of those less fortunate than us,
Those that will not receive a single gift
Not passing by, with supercilious sneers
As we imagine that sheer indolence
Not miserable misfortune dragged them down
And dropp some change into their begging cup
Perhaps a pittance but for them a fortune,
Some crumb of comfort on this cruel, cold day.
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