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The kindness of strangers

The here and now is what really matters, 

I hear you say. Live for the moment, 

soak it all up.I mean, you 

might die tomorrow, never wake up


You strut as you walk, not paying heed 

to the man begging for money to eat

I pay my taxes, I hear you say

I’ve no loose change; maybe another day


The old woman struggling to climb upstairs 

needs a hand with her shopping, 

but you avoid her stare. She should order 

online, make it easier for herself, 

and not expect strangers to go that extra mile


She looks at you for a helping hand, 

but she’s out of luck as your door slams 

shut. She lives alone, her 

husband died. No children, 

they didn’t survive


You let out a cry as you close the door, 

when you see the mess on the kitchen floor.

You’ve been burgled, computer and valuables gone.

You call the police, hope they don’t take too long


A knock on the door, a gentle tap,

who on earth is that? It’s that old woman,

the one you rushed past. 

She makes you a coffee, 

sits with you as 

you begin to weep, with shame 

for your callous behaviour.


You ask for her name; she’s being 

living above you since you moved in.

She helps you clear up 

once the police have left. 

With broken pride and your head bowed low, 

you carry her shopping to the second floor.




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