Jerusalem: a poem inspired by the plight of street people.

"Whatsoever..." (2006) by Timothy P. Schmalz. Statue of a beggar on the grounds of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church at Wellington and Kent Streets in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
"Whatsoever..." (2006) by Timothy P. Schmalz. Statue of a beggar on the grounds of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church at Wellington and Kent Streets in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Source

Jerusalem

Saw him...it

Dimwit streetperson baggy bagged baggage

Garbage sad article

On a city sidewalk tonight

And thought “One more thing we won’t have

In the New Jerusalem”


But do we have to wait till then?

Surely somewhere on this planet

Someone has figured out

How to manage the mentally handicapped


Somewhere on this planet

There are no dirty beggars

But clean connected

Special dwellers in the human circle of life


There was a sitcom with Balty Bartakamos

Who came from a country with no prisons

Hey! Such things are possible

Just imagine a country with no lunatic asylum as well



Alas! This city is not that place

This thing

This hungry thing

Grubby grubbing grabbing

Digging tearing foraging for scraps

His kind multiplies like pathogens

Such a shrouded burden on the treasury

And a virtue for the good

To show some Jerusalem in this island

Now

The Story of the Poem

I still wonder if the street was dimly lit or if it was the tint, but I could barely make out the beggar on the sidewalk at around 9:30 p.m. when all the world was heading home or to some nightspot. The prostitutes have moved to Port Henderson Road, coke heads have dwindled in numbers somewhat, but the beggars still roam the refuse heaps and garbage bins of New Kingston, the hip commercial district of the capital city.

I glanced at the sad solitary figure in the lamplight and had a moment of reflection. "Just suppose we could solve this problem of the mentally unstable and the indigent by true community therapy and reintegration. The utopia of social scientists. But certainly there are countries where such a thing is taking place."

The poem "Jerusalem" was inspired by the train of thought.

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