The kindness of strangers

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By Babui / Arjun

He lived as an exile, by himself, all alone,
Far from his country, his family, his home.

And he was a loner — lacked warmth in his heart.
Of company, friendship, he knew not the art.

He lived in a city — in millions, but one,
In the city, where fortunes are lost and are won.

But even in cities, the caring heart beats.
And he was befriended by strangers on streets.

******

To the likes of the stranger, we’re wary and distant,
And yet, that may change, in the space of an instant.

The face of the stranger is shuttered and cold,
And who can observe it but those who are bold?

There are some, who are lonesome — or driven by lust;
And they, at a stranger, their gazes may thrust.

There are some, who’re not used to the city-folk’s way;
And so, at the stranger, their gazes can stray.

There are some, who have lived in the city for long;
And yet, they are innocents, still don’t belong.

And each of the ones I have listed he met,
And others unlisted — we safely may bet.

******

For the nature of humans is social — and so
We reach out to others — though others say no.

The child, she is curious, and yet she’s afraid.
She looks at the stranger, though nothing is said.

She sees in a stranger both angel and devil,
A bounty most precious — and whispers of evil.

And the parent that guards her is wary as well.
How many, the tales that the TV shows tell!

For though, in a village, the children have trust,
In the midst of the city, precaution’s a must.

No different, we, than the cats and the kittens.
For novelty scares as novelty beckons.

******

So back to the exile, abandoned awhile,
The one, who but rarely could manage a smile.

He lived by himself, did his shopping and went
Back to his refuge, increasingly bent.

And when he was aged and he hardly could see,
At crossings, he’d stand and conspicuous be.

And in less than a minute (though sometimes in more),
Along would come one, who our faith would restore.

And every such “angel” would help him across,
And leave him to carry on further with cross.

And some would have issue with term that I use.
Can one, who does duty, the others excuse?

******

But judge them not harshly, the ones who passed by,
And left him to stand there. And ask not for why.

But be like that exile. Be grateful, that some
Do still have the heart, when beckoned, to come.

And those, who had leisure and watched him for years,
They saw how he managed, despite all their fears.

For he was befriended, when all could be lost,
By strangers who helped him, and often at cost.

Strange are the ways of the world that we’re in.
We note not the virtues. We notice the sin.

And strange are the twists and the turns of the world.
A moment — and deep in the abyss we’re hurled.

******

For now he’s been taken to live in a “home”
That’s wrongly so named — and he lies there alone.

And yet, there are workers and residents there,
Who help him, his troubles with patience to bear.

And troubles are many, neglect is but one.
So easy to lose, what with labor was won!

Yet surely, without all the help he receives,
From those who give freely, his living would cease.

There are actions of kindness, with little return,
Save for the knowledge of serving, in turn.

And these are the acts, as we struggle to cope,
That say, “Where there’s heart, you have reason to hope.”

******

He once was an exile, by himself, all alone,
Far from his country, his family, his home.

And still, he’s a loner — the warmth in his heart
Is rarely expressed — as he knows not the art.

And yet, in the midst of the city of dangers,
He still is befriended, by those who were strangers.

On the kindness of strangers, he lives out his years.
They share in his joys and they share in his tears.

2011 August 21st, Sun.
Brooklyn

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