I Am A Poor Man

     At this time of year, as the weather turns colder I think of those less fortunate than I, who have very few options as to where they will sleep and eat. I know that some of them are where they are by choice rather than chance, but that doesn’t make their existence any less difficult or any more comfortable, when the “North Wind” begins to howl. Some of them are out of work, some are out of luck and yes, frankly, some are out of their minds. So, not all of them mind you, are looking for just enough money to get a “bottle” to ward off the cold, as it were..

     I have related the story before of a gentleman named James, who would come by our workplace on a fairly regular basis and we would “bestow” upon him our soda cans for the nickel deposit that he could redeem for whatever purpose(s) he wished.. Well one winter, a friend of mine had an “Extreme Cold Weather” sleeping bag from the military that he had not used in a while, and by the grace of God would not be in need of using, so he brought it in and gave it to James. James thanked him with the appropriate words and was off on his “merry” way. James would sleep in the doorways of the businesses in the complex and we would see him quite often nestled into a corner. However, we never saw him in that sleeping bag! My friend asked him one day, why he didn’t use the sleeping bag and was told that he had traded it. For what it was swapped, I don’t remember, but I do remember it was something rather trivial, at least to us it seemed trivial. When we pressed him a little about it, he told us it was too dangerous to be wrapped up in a sleeping bag, it limited his “escape” from the predators. Yes even the homeless, have predators, sad as that may seem.

     So my friends, should you come across someone who is living existing out in the elements, just toss them a coin or two, it won’t hurt you, and it doesn’t have to be much, it all adds up after a while. And though it may very well end up in the purchase of alcohol, it may just go for a bite to eat or a coffee to fend off the cold.

     Also, with Christmas rapidly approaching, the Salvation Army does wonderful things for the less fortunate, so when you hear that bell, please put a little something in the bright red kettle, regardless of your religious beliefs, or lack thereof, it’s about being human and sharing just a WEE bit of what WE have been given.

     Sorry, a bit long-winded today, but enjoy your Friday,


Can ya spare a man some change friend?

I Am A Poor Man

I don’t work for pleasure

but I’ll work for pay,

in support of my habit

of eating each day.


 I don’t care if I’m homeless

or when I see my breath,

if the newspaper that warms me

doesn’t mention my death!


 I’ll move around

but I won’t go far,

and if I’d saved more money

I could sleep in a car.


 So, I’ll work for money

or I’ll work for food,

but, I’m still a human

you don’t need to be rude.


 If I ask for a quarter

just say yes or no,

I’m not lookin’ for your pity

but I will take your dough.


 Yes, I’ve seen some hard times

and I’m down on my luck,

but I’m sure God will bless you

if you’ll spare me a buck.


 Jack Downing

Sep. 2012



Copyright© Jack Downing, aka Jake @poemsandponderings.wordpress.com. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or disseminated in any manner without the expressed written consent of the author. JRD 10/12/12



About poemsandponderings

Hearth and Health are wonderful things and if you're without either such sorrow that brings So I cannot express enough thanks to my Lord and to my family and friends for the support you afford! ~Jack Downing~
This entry was posted in common cold, environment, help, history, life, Sleep, stranger, wealth and worth, whiskey, Winter. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I Am A Poor Man

  1. Sally says:

    Your story brought back memories for me…When my Mom was older and money was not in great supply..each time she would pass a “bum or wino” (that was the term many years ago…not very politically correct now.)..we now have so many more people who have just fell on bad times..and are homeless…anyway no matter how much $ she had she would stop (we children were just mortified) and show them a few dollars and make them promise that no matter what they did with the $ they had to get a sandwich or a bowl of soup. She made them promise.. Now when ever I can I do the same… Thanks for the memories…

    • Knowing full well that a bum, wino, junkieor alcoholic wouldNEVER, lie to a complete stranger, with money in their handto give them! Sorry, for the sarcasm..lol. But your mom had a good heart and a good soul and probably more faith in them than they had in their selves..


  2. Sally says:

    It was a long time ago as my Mom died in 1989…

  3. Beth Ann says:

    Exactly! Well written. I always think that we don’t know the whole story with people and I think the homeless are one of those groups . What you stated is true–we may not know or even like the reason that they are in the position that they are in but they are still humans and deserve to have food in their bellies and warmth surrounding them. Good reminder for all of us today.

    • Thanks Beth Ann. We are expecting our first frost of the season tonight and for someus just going out to get tothe car, chills us..Ican’timagine sleeping out in it..


  4. The Salvation Army has the lowest bureaucratic expenses and highest ratio of money collected and delivered to the needy than any other charity world wide.

    • I had heard that, a true charitable organization..Not like the United Way or Unicef or some of the evenhigher percentages for administrative costs, someupwards of 75%. Disgusting..


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