Homeless man lying on the bench. File photo

Homeless man lying on the bench. File photo

LETTER – ‘The Homeless Man’ gives pause for thought during the holiday season

EDITOR’S NOTE: Murray Coulter originally submitted this poem in 2007. He requested republication.

I had an experience yesterday as I left the crowded store,

I pushed my cart through the slushy snow as the rain began to pour.

As I fumbled for my keys, “Silent Night” running through my head.

I caught a glimpse of a homeless man, lying on a cardboard bed.

I put my groceries in my car and was going to drive away

But thought I’d better check first, just to see if he’s okay.

I walked to him holding my coat to keep out the rain and snow,

Then bent down beside him, his breathing was quite slow.

At first he didn’t say a word, his fingers were so cold.

I rubbed his fingers and his hand, and saw he was quite old.

I thought I’d say a prayer for him and slowly he did stir.

He looked up from his bed and said; “thank you, kind sir.”

His eyes were tearful, kind and gentle, not what I had expected.

He said, “You’re first to talk to me, I’m usually just rejected.”

Could you spare a coffee, and a blanket to shed the snow?”

I gave some change, and asked him home. But he said, “no.”

I said, “Good bye” and went to get a blanket for the homeless man.

Then I returned, gave what I had, and took him by the hand.

“What is your name?” I asked him; “Jesus” answered He.

“As much as you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done it unto me.”

Murray Coulter,

Courtenay

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