On that dirty pavement far down below,
Lives a poor peasant, a ragged little fellow;
His balding head and wrinkled brow,
Of many thoughts and dreams show;
His bulging eyes and sunken cheeks,
Speak of hunger and a look of despair.
From my window I could see,
His movements slow, unsteady,
Spoke of a hidden sorrow,
Of forlorn hopes and shattered dreams.
All around him these silent giants stood,
Stonewalls, looking down menacing and cold.
It was curiosity, which compelled me,
To inquire into his malady.
So it was one day, when I was on my way,
I stopped awhile, to ask this exile,
“What is it that ails you so?”
To this he replied, “Dear sir,
I come from a far off land,
Where once the scene was green,
Now littered with corpses and ruins,
The curse of a hand unseen.
We lived a good life,
Where peace reigned supreme,
Never broken by a strife,
It was all a dream.
During the day we toiled away
On our fields,
And the night was gay with laughter and play,
At our homes.
The fruits of labour our stomachs did fill,
Our minds were simple, no feeling was ill.
As if envious of such a state,
The enemy came, a river in spate,
Drowned our hopes,
And the world we had built,
Now everything is waste.
I remember the day they came,
Our women raped, our children killed,
And houses set aflame.
Screaming voices rent the air,
People running here and there,
There was no end to this nightmare.
As I stood on a little mound,
Gazing at the burning ground,
Where once my world did lie,
I felt a sense of hopelessness,
But I had no strength to die.
For living’s sake, to eke a living have I come,
To this city of yours, peopled by walls,
Moving figures of stone,
So cold to the touch; no flesh, no bone.
I toil to lighten that everlasting hunger,
And the nights I retire into that world of dreams.
But dear sir this I know,
I am waiting for the day, the day I have to go.”
With these words he moved,
Back to his world of dreams;
He had taken refuge.