Ode to the Unknown Wisdom
A rusty grocery cart, one wheel out of round
was her home, transportation to get around town,
resources repository, a lifetime's collection,
trademark of indifference to social rejection
and a proud banner worn, as if her claim to fame.
She answered to Mary, but it wasn't her real name.
A wag once remarked, "The complexion's so ruddy
her nickname ought to be, 'Proud Mary, the Bloody',"
reminded of a cocktail, an earlier breakfast choice,
he named her and hailed her with his resonant voice.
She replied, "Aye, laddie a dollar for Mary?"
So she took what he gave, making her deft parry,
a cheeky one-liner she turned a buck's profit,
Proud Mary the Bloody, never one to scoff at.
She became a fixture to those walking to work
every day of the week, providing some new perk,
a coffee, a danish, a buck for the kitty,
starting the mornings with good will in the city.
A dozen or so of those streaming around her
separately, would reach out wherever they found her,
to say in one action of unmerited favor
she was of value, giving their lives a flavor
without which a zest would be sadly diminished,
a day to be ended, seemingly unfinished.
Through the spring of that year, into the hot summer
like fate was marching to the beat of a drummer
not heard by another, yet announcing the pace,
the days paraded with new acquaintances in place .
One muggy, no Mary, the cart not at her stile,
there was no wrinkled face to see break with a smile,
missing the satisfaction at touching another...
impossible to be at ease, not able to uncover
what happened, where, and why was she helter-skelter.
Where did she spend the nights, at home or a shelter?
How bizarre this unknown of someone you cared for!
Inquiring, (with highest hopes, still, one prepared for...)
of the nameless, faceless souls, home to the street,
about defeated ones, whom fates unkindly treat...
if they knew who she was, where, and her condition,
or could give directions, a purse, their addition
to coffers, only, if and when her cart was found
still intact, and its owner 's health, yet redound.
Mary's home in summer someone thought was the park,
not far from the corner she maintained dawn till dark.
Within three block's distance, searchers spied the cart
standing where she left it, as if doing its grand part
to provide protection from unwanted, prying eyes,
privacy's last right, that modicum if one dies
alone, as she had, in the middle of the night,
the heavens, her canopy, distant stars, its delight,
glorious counterpane for the short journey home.
On her back on the bench, unafraid...this a poem
of her life, its last line in perfect metric rhyme
with happy memories of a far younger time,
a mother's suckling baby, cooing on her breasts…
and silent strangers who'd become her final guests.
Essential treasures, valuables of well-being,
through fumbling, inept hands caretakers, not seeing
jewel thieves hard at work, may allow to be lifted
what (too late discovered) not again to be gifted
in this life or the next. These greatest of His joys
are given by life's Architect, who employs
an unknown wisdom to determine who receives,
who is blessed, who's left out, who in faith believes
that He's there, at all times in control of it all,
despite man's endeavor to usurp since the fall.
Undeterred, and on course His purpose to fulfil
in the homeless of the world, according to His will,
whose Justice is declaring the scales to be fair,
heaven rebalances earth misery, Marys bear.
Poems From the Goober Tree http://nathoo.wustl.edu/goober_tree.htm