~ The Protagonist
The old man's heart was heavy as he sat down by the fire;
'Twas many a day since he had earned a mere survival's hire.
Now with a scanty piece of bread between him and starvation-
Some men are sumptuously fed, others have but meager ration.
'Twas not the time to reminisce on other men's good fortune,
For had he not been brought to this, where might his steps have brought him?
Other men may close their fist and leave for him no gleaning.
Plenty is not happiness; forgiveness is its meaning.
'Forgiveness.' sang the skylark, flying overhead.
'Forgiveness, ' said the old man, and that was all he said.
For now a jay came swooping, scoffed up the piece of bread;
'Forgiveness, ' sang the skylark. 'I forgive, ' was his reply,
'But I cannot eat forgiveness as I lay me down to die.'
The sound of muffled footsteps came softly to his ear;
He brushed away the tears, unwept, as he turned his head to peer.
Among the trees, a straying cow listened to his simple query.
'How now brown cow? Are you the answer to my worry? '
Murmuring soft and stealthily, utensil in his hands,
The old man crept up to the cow and bravely took his stance.
His appetite seemed sated with every pearly drop.
It was fitting that he waited till he'd filled it to the top.
But she brushed away the helpful thief with a lifted, languid hoof.
The old man toppled like a leaf and spilled the precious draft.
'Forgiveness, ' trilled the skylark; 'Ah yes, ' the man replied,
And rising on unsteady legs, he patted her backside.
The indifferent cow bestirred herself with a noncommittal shrug.
Then flipped her leg and sent him sprawling in the mud,
'Forgiveness, ' laughed the skylark, as the cow meandered off.
'Forgiveness, ' cursed the old man as he released a helpless cough.
A cougar, crouching by the path, was fain to have a meal.
The old man raised himself at last and felt the danger real.
With trembling legs and failing strength he planned out his retreat.
The cougar waited patiently, planning his deceit.
The old man saw his strategy as he came around a bend.
Had the cougar thought that he was fool enough to walk into his den?
Stooping now, he rolled himself down the incline's grade.
The cougar, watching, turned and left, to find more yielding trade.
'Forgiveness, ' sang the skylark to the man propped by a tree.
'Forgive him for his hunger? Yes forgiving I can be.
Why must one be forgiving when injustice dogs his steps?
So they can write, 'He has forgiven.' Upon his final crept?
I'll forgive the selfish world; I'll forgive all greedy men.
But I'll not pat their backside or walk into their den.'
Topic(s) of this poem: humor, narrative
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.