On the Street

An inveterate litter-picker, seasoned
By gathering up other people's droppings -
Of cardboard boxes, plastic bottles,
Left-over packaging in cellophane wrapping;
Tin cans and bottle tops;
Just a mouthful of tuna-mayo left
In a polystyrene box with a fast food spoon;
A tiny torch, a cigarette lighter,
Crusts left by the crows who dragged them there -
Amateur garbage-collector, gone with the wind.

Shining canisters of legal highs,
The smallest sliver of roadside silver
Go for it - glistening needles in the haystack;
ATM receipts and lottery cards,
Last week's newspaper with celebrity gossip -
Evidence of yesterday's world
Jettisoned by humanity with crocodile tears
Dried out on dried up wet-wipes;
Crumpled up tissues with goodness knows what
Picked up for a big black refuse bag.

Cigarette stubs and bottled soda,
Pooh-sacs filled and others empty,
Half-degraded plastic bags nibbled by rats
Joining forces with foxes, scavenging
When not chased by hounds and horns;
This one tidying up that one's mess,
Not the work of a fine-facing fly-tipper
Halfway to the dump, but tossed on the road,
By thoughtless litter-bugs
Scattering their disposables for the likes of him.

Eden restored by a sophisticated road-sweeper
The street sanctified to its finger-licking best.
There he goes again - Mr Goodie-Goodie
Back with an eye for what's out of place,
Living with castaways, outcasts, unwanted,
The downtrodden. There'll be more tomorrow,
Tin cans of other people's mess
Flattened under foot, though withholding blame;
Accepted, but wishing it wasn't like this,
Though he should get home to wash the dishes.

September 2016

Roman 8: 18-23