The Mind of a Man on a Snowy Day. in The Mind of a Man

  • Dec. 2, 2019, 11:09 a.m.
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  • Public

alt textToday we have our first snowfall of the year. It is a significant blast of wintry weather, one that has me thinking about those who are outside. By outside, I don’t mean those walking and frolicking in the snow, enjoying their day off from school or work.

I mean those who live outside. One of my jobs is working at a homeless shelter. It is rewarding. The biggest reward for me is the immense gratitude and politeness I experience. Those we serve are far more polite and appreciative than virtually all the people I come into contact with.

Those we serve are not worried about their new iPhone. They do not concern themselves with the opinions of others. They are not thinking about fashion, politics or criticising those who think differently than they do.

Their needs are more basic.

Today I am thinking about a particular neighbor who is older and frail. My first post is a simple yet very blunt poem about this particular neighbor, Ziggy.

Ziggy Says

We say we care. Are we bluffing?
Does our wholeness get diminished
if we stare and do nothing
when Ziggy says, “I’m finished.”

He struggles to find comfort
in the cold and wet evening.
We pray with him. We stay with him,
but he is not believing
in my rhymes, in our reasons,
in himself or our interest.
I believe he knows his fate
from the way Ziggy says, “I’m finished.”

He weakly grabs our hands
and presses them to his face.
Ziggy hasn’t the strength
to give a strong embrace.
He will sleep on the floor
under racks of used clothes.
We slow our pace, in our best grace
to extend when we must close.

Then, Ziggy goes on the street.
We will get no early warning
as to when he’s truly finished;
we just won’t see him in the morning.
His cold body will be found
by someone who has seen
this ending many times.
There is no in-between.

We have hope. We have time.
We have a warm and cozy bed.
The Ziggys find no future.
The Ziggys are found dead.

We say we care. Are we bluffing?
Does our wholeness get diminished
if we stare and do nothing
when Ziggy says, “I’m finished.”


Last updated 6 days ago


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