Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Philip F. Clark: The Beggar’s Welcome

He stopped and asked if I could spare some change.

I thought, Oh yes, I could spare so much: another job,

a new home, other clothes, better weather, more chances,

less pain. Yes, I could spare some change.

He held out his hand—callused, sooted, cracked.

I groped for my wallet, and I held his eyes:

still young, if half-alive; as if they and his body were not

the same—there were the chances he mistook,

the changes on a dime—the house, the car, the wife

or lover, the constantly put off grave.

All I had was a clean last twenty.

Without a thought, I handed it to him.

As he gently took it, his hand in mine, I knew:

It’s all we ever want—the holding. The asking

is never as hard as the needing, the accepting

never as hard as the taking.


Copyright 2017 Philip F. Clark. From The Carnival of Affection (Sibling Rivalry Press). Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.

2 comments on “Philip F. Clark: The Beggar’s Welcome

  1. Tricia Knoll
    February 26, 2019

    The Carnival of Affection is an apt title for the collection where this touching poem belongs.

    Liked by 1 person

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