Empire of Reason Commentary No. 10

To:  The People of the United States, July 31, 2021


By Mark Albertson

* * * * *

An old man trudged,

Bent and broken,

Trolling the concrete

For any token.

A slovenly hunchback

Unsteady in gait.

Clothes all in tatters,

A deplorable state.

His nose was running

And he coughed very bad.

Shunned by passers-by

It was all very sad.

Their comments and glares

He paid no heed.

Quite used to the humanity

Who ignored his need.

At the corner he paused

And rummaged the trash.

His wealth among storeys

Of assets and cash.

For such are the wages

Of a man of his station.

The compensation of a

Kindler, gentler nation.[2]

[1]  According to Webster’s, the terminology is Scottish for beggar, a wondering ne’er do-well; a formerly licensed beggar, even one of a religious variety who owns neither personal or communal property.

[2]  The object of the exercise was an unfortunate I viewed in lower Manhattan, near the Financial District, some thirty years ago.  The images provided are accurate. 

        Upon viewing the proceedings, I crossed the street, approached the beggar and, gave him the last two dollar bills I had.  There was no thank you; no wave of a hand; no facial acknowledgement.  He merely stuffed the bills into his threadbare coat and, shuffled on. 

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