Untitled: A Poem

Untitled: A Poem

by Denis Kabi

 

He didn’t have much;

didn’t go far in school;

didn’t have a job;

didn’t seem to have a future.

He was a child of the street,

conceived and born in a dark alley,

and reared by the ways of the world.

He never knew his mother,

or father, or siblings, or relatives.

He had no friends.

He trusted no one;

and no one trusted him.

Whenever he walked along the streets of the big city,

people would instinctively move away from him;

and he too learned to avoid meeting these people.

They seemed weird,

the men and women who walked the streets

of the big city by day.

Their children seemed weird too.

The people of the big city were like hybrids

of something bad and something worse.

They seemed eager to embrace modernity

and the Western culture with one hand,

and yet on their other hand they inexorably clang

to the deep roots of their traditional culture.

None of them suspected that they were at crossroads

– going through a transition,

moving away from tradition,

into something without tradition.

Definitely something potent was going on in the big city.

A chapter of history was drawing to a close, it seemed;

and a new chapter was about to begin.

The child of the street kept walking

along the crowded pavement beside the long street,

a plastic bottle with a measure of leather glue in it

dangling from the corner of his mouth.

He clang to the myth

that the intoxicating fumes of the leather glue

would subdue his hunger pangs.

Despite the leather glue,

his body still needed nutritious food;

he still needed clean drinking water;

he still needed decent clothes;

he still needed a decent place to live.

As he walked along the pavement,

he came across a street preacher,

who was standing on the edge of the pavement,

screaming his voice hoarse,

an open copy of the Bible in his hand

from which he was reading a passage.

As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives,

 the disciples came to Him in private.

“Tell us when all this will be,” they asked,

“and what will happen to show that it is the time

for your coming and the end of the age.”

Jesus answered, “Watch out,

and do not let anyone fool you.

 Many men, claiming to speak for me,

 will come and say, ‘I am the Messiah!’

and they will fool many people.

You are going to hear the noise of battles close by

 and the news of battles far away;

but do not be troubled.

Such things must happen,

but they do not mean that the end has come.

Countries will fight each other;

kingdoms will attack one another.

There will be famines and earthquakes everywhere.

All these things are like the first pains of childbirth.

Then you will be arrested

and handed over to be punished and be put to death.

All mankind will hate you because of Me.

 Many will give up their faith at that time;

 they will betray one another and hate one another.

Then many false prophets will appear and fool many people.

Such will be the spread of evil

 that many people’s love will grow cold.

 But whoever holds out to the end will be saved.

And this Good News about the Kingdom will be preached

 through all the world for a witness to all mankind;

and then the end will come.”

The child of the street stopped on the pavement

and wistfully gazed at the humble street preacher,

and on the child’s periphery vision

he could see the people of the city

who were disinterestedly hurrying past the man.

When the preacher finished preaching,

he closed his Bible and closed his eyes

and bowed his head and prayed

for the people of the big city…in Jesus name.

After this, the man walked away

and disappeared into the sea of humanity.

The child of the street resumed his walk

along the crowded pavement beside the long street,

and removed the bottle of glue from his mouth

and thought deeply about what the street preacher had said.

As the child walked,

he couldn’t help but ask himself,

“Am I ready for the end of the age?”

 

© Denis Kabi, 2011

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