Ode to the Unknown Wisdom

An old grocery cart with one wheel out of round
Was her home, transportation to get around town,
Resources repository, a lifetime's collection,
Trademark of indifference to social rejection,
And a proud banner worn, as if her claim to fame.
She answered to Mary, but it wasn't her real name;
A wag once remarked, her complexion's so ruddy
Her nickname ought to be, "Proud Mary, the Bloody",
Reminded of a cocktail, that morning, his choice,
He named her, and hailed her, with his resonant voice.
She replied, "Aye, laddie a dollar for Mary?"
So she took what he gave, making her deft parry,
A cheeky one-liner she turned a buck's profit,
Proud Mary the Bloody, never one to scoff at.

She became a fixture to those walking to work
Every day of the week, providing some new perk,
A coffee, a danish, a buck for the kitty,
Starting the mornings with good will in the city.
A dozen or so of those streaming around her
Separately, would reach out wherever they found her,
To say in one action of unmerited favor
She was of value, giving their lives a flavor
Without which a zest would be sadly diminished,
A day to be ended, seemingly unfinished.
Through the Spring of that year, into the hot Summer
Like fate was marching to the beat of a drummer
Not heard by another, yet announcing the pace,
The days marched by with new acquaintances in place .

Then one day, no Mary, the cart not at her stile,
There was no wrinkled face to see break with a smile,
There was no satisfaction at touching another...
Impossible to smile not able to uncover
What happened, where she was and why helter-skelter.
Where did she spend the nights, at home or a shelter?
How bizarre this unknown of someone you cared for!
Some inquired, with highest aims that one dared hope for...
Of the nameless, faceless ones, homeless on the street
About defeated ones, whom fates unkindly treat...
If they knew who she was, where, and her condition,
Or could give directions, a purse, their addition
To coffers, only, if and when her cart was found
Still intact, and its owner 's good health, yet redound.

Mary's home in summer, someone thought was the park
Not far from the corner she maintained, dawn till dark.
Less that three block's distance the searchers spied the cart,
Standing where she left it, as if doing its part
To provide protection from unwanted, prying eyes,
That modicum, privacy's last right, if one dies
Alone, as she had, in the middle of the night,
Heavens, a canopy, distant stars, a delight,
Glorious counterpane for the short journey home.
On her back on the bench, unafraid...this a poem
To her life, its last line in perfect metric rhyme
With happy memories of a far younger time,
A mother's suckling baby, cooing on her breasts…
But at last we strangers would be her final guests.

Essential treasures, valuables of well-being,
Through fumbling, inept hands, caretakers, not seeing
Jewel thieves hard at work, may allow to be lifted
What,(too late discovered), not again to be gifted.
In this life or the next, these greatest of her joys
Are given to us by a Master who employs
An unknown wisdom, to determine who receives,
Who is blessed, who's left out, and whose faith yet believes
That He's there, at all times in control of it all,
Despite man's endeavor to usurp since the fall.
Undeterred, and on course His purpose to fulfil
In the Marys on earth, according to His will,
Whose Justice is declaring, His scales to be fair,
He's added for each one grand rewards to declare.

--Baron Gooberacht von Hottzendog

                  copyright 1998, The Goober Tree Press, all rights reserved

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