Saturday 31 October 2009

The Beggar

The beggar sat in the high street,
Holding out his palm,
To every stranger passing by,
Muttering and mumbling,
’Excuse me mate, got any change’
As some politely declined,
And others just ignored,
Pretending they hadn’t heard,
The pleading from the ground,
Whilst others deigned to stop,
And stooped to put a few coins,
Pulled from their pockets,
Into the hollow of his hand.

Some had more than they needed,
But they would not give,
For they thought that by giving,
They themselves were diminished,
For all they are is what they own,
They have become their wealth,
Their credit cards and cars,
Their houses and fine clothes,
And were really nothing more,
And if all of us were truly equal,
Who then would they be ?

Others gave out of guilt,
For they had more than they needed
And knew they were greedy,
And their sly acts of giving,
Salved their wounds of knowing,
That success was selfishness,
As they spent more money shopping,
For the toys and trinkets of status,
Than families have to spend on food,
And old people spend on heating.

Then a young child with old eyes,
Walked up to the beggar and said
With a smile that lit up the world
“ Hold out your heart to them,
Not the hollow of your hand
For all the riches that you seek
Are already awaiting within you’
But the beggar just looked confused,
And simply pushed the child aside,
And carried on his begging
Holding out the hollow of his hand
To every guilty stranger walking by.

I understood then in an instant,
With a lightning flash of inspiration,
What the child was trying to say
That the hollow of the beggars hand
Is our ever hungering ego,
Whose need can never be sated,
By wealth and cars and houses,
For it wants the whole world,
Without ever questioning its motive.

The child is the soul that seeks serenity,
The treasures of love, peace and beauty,
Whilst the ego is the rhizome,
That binds us to the earth,
Seeking to supply the soul,
With all the human necessities,
When the body is born here,
Amidst the dust and stars,
Whilst the soul is the eidolon,
That only blooms within eternity.

We listen to the ego and its NOW,
And think that we are it,
But the ego is a hollow hand,
That no amount of giving or taking
Will ever suffice to satiate,
Its desires are a constant starvation,
A wolf that must be fed,
The answer is to be as the child,
And seek only greater things,
The gold of love and its poetry,
And to build a better world for all,
Where beggars seek only beauty,
And the rich give to gain the wealth,
Of higher wisdom and sacred inner peace.

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Anonymous said...

Splendid poem Mr Barnes...quite splendid...

charity begins at home said...

Some people will give out of empathy, not ego.

It is the `do-gooders` who give out of ego, out of lifting their self worth, up onto the peddalstool of vanity.

They give but a few coins when they can afford pounds, and the people who empathise give a few pounds when they can only truly afford a few coins.

In short the do-gooder middleclasses expect a gain from the investment in the shape of allevated ego, for what is no real cost to them.

The average `do-gooder` is middleclass and bleats rigtiously about distant poverty - oh yes, poverty is a fashion brand for these people, it is a designer lable, poor kids in Britain - no not fashinable enough, it has to be BIG distant and safe!

Wher the real solutions do not mean more taxes, oh no, to pay more taxes or pay fair wages would take from them and give little back in terms of ego points!

When they ignorantly give a pound - to cover TV advertising and big charity saleries, they claim they are helping millions!

They vote for parties and people who impoverish and rape these distant lands, who back the warlords and who embessle the money - but fear paying a penny more to help the poor of this country. As far as they are concerned in their ivory towers there are no poor - No kids on poor drug riddled estates on starvation diets, no elderly dying through lack of heating and no lack of healcare or social services, no lack of decent housing.

Yet they give £1 to designer lable `Africa` you never hear the end of it and they slink off home to the comfy house, kicking the poor on their doorstep on the way home.