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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)

TITLE: Love in action.
By Danielle King
04/20/11


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He’s squatting there alone again, in the park
that man at the wrong side of the lake
the side that’s fenced off
with a sign
‘Conservation area. Keep out!’

Hands together as if in prayer
albeit tucked between his knees
maintaining this peculiar posture all day
no one asks why
or cares

Local kids call names and tease
young mums wary, suspicious
while youths hurl stones to hurt him
for entertainment

Still he waits by the lakeside
staring at the ripples made by the stones
that the youths threw to harm him
seeming oblivious
apart from a tear drop sometimes
tracing a path down the grimy cheek
dampening the dense mass of black beard.

On the hill a brass band plays
it’s Sunday
ladies in bonnets, tambourines, cymbals
the Salvation Army praise the Lord loudly
on the hill by the lake
where the man squats alone
nameless
all day
alone

A small child
weary of trumpets and noise
slips away unnoticed
down the hill
by the lake
where the ducks wait for children to throw bread.

She spies the man at the far side
and curious takes the path to where he is
behind the fence alone
at the wrong side of the lake
asks why he squats where the plants need to grow
then
taking no heed of his silence
clambers the fence and
scampers to where he is
to sit beside him

Innocence
unsullied
asks the question
“Are you a village idiot
or a down and out
or a vagrant
that my daddy talks of
but me, I’ve never seen those things
so what are you please
because you’re different
and you smell bad
please tell me
I would like to know”

The man with the black beard and tangled hair
turns
smiles faintly
with eyes of deep pain
sunken into hollows
that speak volumes
to no-one
because no-one
cares to listen.

The young girl
undeterred
has a better plan
“You need a friend” she says
holding out a small hand

“Come with me to the hill where the band plays
and share my friends
then the plants can grow where you kneel all day
behind the fence
at the wrong side of the lake”

Hand in hand they walk slowly
up the hill
where the people gather
to listen to the band
and eat sandwiches
with egg and cress
and butterfly buns
and drink cups of tea
all free
courtesy of the band

Everyone welcome
especially the man who sat at the wrong side of the lake!


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This article has been read 389 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Amanda Brogan04/22/11
This is so sweet and touching! Just a small act of love can mean so much.

Great job on this lovely little ballad.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/23/11
And a child shall lead them. This poem had suspense and provoked a deep sense of empathy in me. Well done!
Patricia Protzman04/28/11
Congratulations on your third place win.
Noel Mitaxa 04/28/11
This is beautifully written, for its mix of ugliness being conquered by innocence. As I read I began to hear echoes of "The Fool on a Hill," by Lennon and McCartney, but you went far deeper. Congratulations on your placing.
Tracy Nunes 04/28/11
Congratulations! You gave us a real feel for the heart of both the child and the man. Compelling and well written.
Kim Hamlin04/29/11
Great job Danielle, congratulations!
Linda Goergen05/05/11
He is "need"...waiting...she is "love"..rescuing, in between them "hate" and "indifference"...
all so vividly personified in this WONDERFUL poem!! KUDOS! Enjoyed!