James H. Smith
SELF MADE MAN
The man seemed old as he sat hunched on the park bench with a vagrant’s air.
People stepped around him as though he were invisible, not worth their time or care.
No one cared how he got here, who he was, or where he came from
Except for a small girl who walks up to ask, “mister why do you stare?
You’re looking at an old rock wall, there is nothing there.”
The man smiles and the warmth in his smile and eyes can’t be denied.
With a voice soft and gentle, “little one come sit with me” he sighed.
You are the only one today with eyes wide enough to see.
So you must know there’s more to the world than just you and me.
I am below my shaggy hair, under my old cloths, a humbled man to be.
Old to some I might seem, but in my heart and mind no older do I seem to me.
Young forever, I’ve thought myself to be.
Or is it that my age has gone before me, that I must be old before my time?
But time and this old body have not dulled the images of my mind.
The rock wall you ask, not blank, black granite, ten thousand names and more etched there on.
Now it’s green grass, trees and birds, quiet hovers all around.
Ten thousand white crosses resting there, for those that gave it all before their fall.
There on the rocks I see an office, computers, sales, power over people, I want it now.
No time for family, no time for talk or trees or birds that sing, I must grab it all now somehow.
“I do this for my family;” I say, “I do this for our way of life.”
In the end I had the money and the power, but in trade I lost a family and my wife.
So in the wall, not only rocks and cement do I see.
But my life reflected back, the wall shows a reflection of me.
Now little one a pretty smile if you please and never feel sorry for me.
I’m the one that made what I’ve become
So come take my hand, let’s walk a little in the park, the trees, and birds we’ll see.
Then I must get back to my street corner before the afternoon passes.
Would you carry my sign, it’s not heavy, It’s cardboard you see.
HOMELESS VET! WILL WORK FOR FOOD
THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS
AS YOU STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES
©Copyright 2001 by James H. Smith