Means to an End
He wandered streets with other wayward souls,
each blind to one another’s inner plights.
Together, but alone they walked below
the heartless throbbing glare of city lights.
The bum sought out his friend, the millionaire,
and told him of the girl and of her need.
“I owe my life to you,” the miser said,
“and I would be most glad to intercede.”
He gave the bum a stunning wad of cash,
“And now, I want to paint the town!” he said.
“I never truly thanked you for my life,
let’s you and I go out and paint it red!”
The two went out carousing on the town,
and money flowed like water from their hand,
and for a time, the two forgot the world,
just shared a drink, and listened to the band.
The wee hours found them stumbling through the street.
In alley dark, a thief came with a gun,
the millionaire fell in a pool of blood.
The bum could think of nothing but to run.
The morning found him by the lady’s side.
She tried to speak; found nothing she could say.
He handed her the cash, and then he said
“I’m sorry, Dear, I have to go away.”
Her tears of joy turned sorry, and she said
“But you’ll come back to see me, when you can?”
His lips said “yes,” but sirens down the street
forced him to leave her side, he turned and ran.
© Kenneth Henry, 2014
Based on Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 silent film classic, “City Lights.” Click the Introduction link above for more information about the movie. In this section, I took considerable liberty with the details of the plot. In the movie, the relationship with the millionaire was more complicated, and he was not shot in an alley. I chose to simplify. The impact to the storyline of the bum and the girl is unchanged.