He held the bottle close, yet loose,
His grip, now somewhat slackened.
He raised it, tried to find his mouth,
With teeth all chipped and blackened.
He did not know what time it was
Nor even what the day.
He did not feel the cold, damp ground
Beneath him where he lay.
He could not hold a thought for long.
Didn't know he'd lost his hat.
His mind and eyes completely fogged,
His brain synapses flat.
Now, in his blank and cloudy mind,
No bad thoughts came unbidden.
They stayed down where his "old self" lived,
Sequestered, lost and hidden.
He did not know how near deaths door,
But neither did he care.
This nothingness is what he sought,
Though he found no solace there.
The "locals" helped him out most times,
With money, rides or food.
He wasn't especially grateful, but
Was never, ever rude.
He'd bow and scrape like a good bum should,
His repitoire, automatic,
"God bless you sir, or ma'am," he'd say,
This harmless, likeable addict.
We'd give him rides and jobs and such
Not feeling ANY link.
We'd pay him for a job well done and
He'd toddle off to drink.
We gave him clothes and sleeping bags,
And twice, even a tent.
A mountain of beer cans filled them soon,
Where he lay, the only indent.
We could not just ignore this man,
Though at times he was a pain.
We could not leave him there to die,
In the cold and the wind and the rain.
Then one day, This AMAZING thing.
He told me his FULL name.
I'd known a boy, whose name was that!
He COULD NOT be the same!?
With bushy hair and beard and all,
He was just "one of THOSE men".
But true, our paths had crossed before.
We'd gone to school "back when"!
It's too late to make this short,
But it's not to late to try.
He's off the street and has a home.
He's sober, clean and dry.
His teeth are fixed, he eats better now.
And get this, he goes to school.
College yet, with a 3.8.
He's certainly nobody's fool.
I do not take the credit for this!
He did it on his own.
I just encouraged him when I could,
And helped him to not feel alone!
I've learned that opportunities come.
You can help or choose to ignore.
I hope we've learned to recognize them,
'Cause we may not get many more.
I thank the Lord for this one and
Am glad it did not pass us by,
And for the lessons it has taught,
"There, but for the grace of God, go I".
We are ALL here to help each other,
Where-ever, when-ever we can
That is how it's supposed to be.
That's what God wants from man.
So, help when opportunity's there.
Unveil your eyes and you'll see
Many people that you can help.
And, you never know who it may be!!