The Man At The Corner - Poem by Erica Brett
I once knew a man who thought he was God.
He stood down by the corner of Timmons and Tay,
And he waved to travelers and gave them a nod,
And pointed them to the right way.
Then he held out his hand and asked for a dime
And a moment if they would but stay,
And those who would give him the coin and time
Moved closer to hear what the man had to say.
'My child, ' said he, 'I know not where you go,
Nor to which temptations you'll sway.
I care not whether you look to the skies or below,
Or if you fall to your knees when you pray.
Not what candles you light, not what witches you burn,
Nor the number of heathens you slay,
I have no interest in what verses you learn
Or if you listen to sermon on the Holy Day.'
Then he smiled and winked and beckoned them near,
And upon their shoulders, his hand he would lay,
And he looked in their eyes and a voice met the ear
In a whisper of breezes and ocean spray.
'Just act as though I were watching you,
Not with a record of debts to repay,
But with these eyes that will see everything that you do
And learn from who you are that day:
How you treat others, how you behave,
How you work, and how you play,
Who you condemn, and who you save,
What makes you mourn, and what makes you gay.
And what you do I will repeat
As though a child from unformed clay,
Sent into this world on newborn feet,
Untried but for today.
So do not ask what I would do
For how you should act and what to display,
But act as though I were learning from you
For how I should be and who to betray.'
Then the breeze ceased to blow with a soft hush of breath,
And the hand lifted up and the sea washed away,
And the travelers continued on their journey to death –
The one road from which they never would stray.
And He would watch them disappear
With his eyes and beard of gray,
And waited for those who would stoop to hear
The man at the corner of Timmons and Tay.
Comments about The Man At The Corner by Erica Brett
Mary Elizabeth Frye
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