Each Sunday I see him
seated on the church steps,
bedraggled clothes, white hair and beard,
as I arrive for the last Mass,
head bowed almost to his knees.
Has he been there all day?
Has he eaten?
Where are the sons he brought
into this world, cared for,
nurtured, loved so…
Why is he alone, destitute,
begging for crumbs?
What thoughts linger in his mind
as he forlornly sits through the hours:
regret, despair, resentment, frustration…
His face does not show them.
What we see is serene acceptance
of his lot.
As Mass ends, people scurry out,
he extends his begging cup to them,
and is ignored,
some brushing his arm or cup, even.
Yet, he shows no annoyance,
as he mumbles his plea,
a half smile on his lips.