Part One

The bum, the flower girl, and how they met.

He sailed upon a sea of angry eyes
that blew him roughly on from street to street.
From crust of bread, or penny tossed, he’d tack
to find a brief repose on concrete seat.

The bum lived in today, for he was not
encumbered by a future or a past;
knew even modest dreams may not come true,
he also knew that hardships never last.

Though destitute, he held a sense of pride,
a sense of self-esteem that none could breach
he sailed his bark above the heartless sea,
and headed toward a star he’d never reach.
The flower girl was blind from birth, and so
for all her life she swam an inky sea.
She peddled blossoms from her Nana’s home:
a living based on beauty she can’t see.

Unfettered by appearances, she strove
to see the beauty of the human soul.
But circumstance was not a friend to her
life deals a stingy hand to those not whole.

For all around her she could hear the sound
of life, and love that’s bartered, bought and sold.
And all alone she waited to be loved,
but days and years blew by… she just grew old.

A chance encounter on a busy street
forced vagabond and lassie nose to nose.
For once, the eyes that looked toward him were kind:
“Sir, would you buy an iris, or a rose?”

He balked at being propositioned so.
“An iris, Ma’am” he answered her with tact.
It took a moment, then for him to see
the gorgeous eyes he saw did not see back.

He owned a single coin, and their hands touched.
and instantly, his heart was not his own.
She pinned the blossom on his coat lapel,
completely blind to what it was she’d sown.

The busy street was crowded and confused,
and on the curb nearby a driver said
“Your car is ready, Sir,” someone got in.
She thought her customer had up and fled.

But there he stood, in rags and dirty face,
so stunned by her kind beauty, and her way.
Not wanting to dissuade her thought of him,
he softly left, with nothing more to say.

© 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.