Friday, July 1, 2011

With you, always


I see the poor, I know them,
those people on welfare
spending their food stamps
at the supermarket, living
in those red row houses,
brick-baked in summer,
space-heatered in winter,
in that very specific and
avoid-after-dark part
of town. I tithe, give my time,
serve at Thanksgiving (more
dressing, sir?), clean up,
weed yards, plant gardens,
rehab houses with Jimmy
and never once do I
look in the mirror,
except to smile.


Photograph: Row houses, N. 13th Street in Old North St. Louis, 2005, by Preservation Research Office.

7 comments:

Maureen said...

Your seeing brings you to living out the good works you list here... and acknowledging that "there but for the grace of God go I".

katdish said...

Wow. That last line really packs a punch. Great, Glynn. Just great.

H. Gillham said...

My parents lived in a row house in St. Louis in the late 1940s, early 1950s. I think it was on Washington Court.

I've been looking at old photographs, and this reminded me of some of those I saw -- except the had cheap cameras and the images were blurry and in black and white.

I like how photographs inspire writers to write poetry.

Megan Willome said...

My cousin went on a 3-month NOLES trip, and she said the best part of it was not having access to a mirror.

ayala said...

This is great. I love it !

nance marie said...

i don't quite understand this poem....not sure what you are saying.

Patricia said...

you made me go right to James 1:23-24...
You captured this beautifully, Glynn. I hope I never forget who I was and who I could have been if not for the grace of God.
May you be blessed in what you do (v.25)as you look intently and abide.