|In the gutter sits a lost and lonely man,
Wearing rags typical of poverty,
Broken and beaten by life,
Numbed by pain and suffering,
Staring blankly into black oblivion.
He lifts his unfeeling features heavenward,
Once again to hear the voice that tortures his mind.
“Look at you, white trash to be swept away.”
“I knew greatness once,” the man mutters feebly.
The voice only laughs in a derisive tone,
Causing a tear to trace a trail down the man’s dirty cheek,
And stoking the near dead embers in his hard heart.
“Tell me your tale,” taunts the voice.
The man takes a shaky deep breath,
And begins his whisperings the walls know well.
“I have seen great things and many wonders.
I have seen sun rises, sun sets, and rainbows too.
Nature’s beauty, stars from foreign lands,
And ancient art and sculptures.
I have seen history’s ruins,
And history in the making.”
A smile ghosts his lips and his eyes almost shine,
As he recalls the honey sweet memories.
“I know greatness,” the man pleads.
“I know intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom.
I know loyalty, courage, and caring,
And I know wonderful beauty,
With bright eyes, flashing smile, and a lilting laugh.
This beauty is amazingly intense yet perfect to hold.
She is the greatest thing I have ever known.
I haven’t always lurked in this muck.”
The broken old man sighs in near joy.
A tortured look returns to the man’s face,
As he awaits the voice’s lashings.
The voice is subdued and hushed,
As it placates the defeated man,
“You indeed know greatness, and she knew you.”
Vincent W. Myers
Written in 1998