Ah, how it wounds the heart
to see the old ones shuffling
homeward through the park,
stumbling and insecure,
clasping their meagre shopping.
pausing at every step,
with no welcome home at their door.
The British winter is here.
Look at them.
Show no contempt,
for they are the tired warriors
on the slippery, frosted edge
of a road you too will tread
Listen to your breath.
The old lay still in the dark
listening to the singing
of the blood that flows,
pulsing through hardened arteries,
imagining the end.
Outside, in the city streets
young men try to sleep,
huddled up with a dog,
for the sake of body warmth,
but the cold keeps creeping in.
Ah, how it breaks my heart!
In the back lanes of Marrakesh,
it’s time for the evening meal,
time to share the broken bread
after giving thanks to God.
Eight hands reach to one plate.
The old man in the corner
rests on a low sedan
amid cushions of faded flowers.
His daughter strokes his head
and feeds him the best of the dates.
They told me there was once a time,
upon a time not so long ago,
when the porch of every rich man’s house
was a shelter for the poor.
The doors were left unlocked.
I vaguely remember that.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
a pleasure dome decree?
He never invited you or me,
as far as I recollect.
It’s covered in satellite dishes now.
The minaret’s derelict.
Ah, how the world keeps shifting.
Ah, how it greives my heart
that the balance is never right.
Can you rely on the place you call home?
Do you trust the tectonic plates?
Have you heard how the ice caps melt?
Do you think you’ll avoid the drones?
Will we blast ourselves out of existence?
Did we make a huge mistake
when we declared the gods are dead?
Do you ever get scared in the night?