He was just a lost soul, it seemed to me.
Wandering through streets all alone,
His coat was raggedy and the cuffs threadbare,
On a frame that was thin as a bone.
His pants and his shoes had seen better days,
On his head perched a dirty old cap;
His face was bewhiskered with eyes that were glazed,
All in all he was a sorrowful looking old chap.
He saw that I stared and he straightened much taller,
and said, with a voice filled with pride,
“I know you’re thinking that I’m just a tramp,
But this isn’t who I am inside!
Why, I had a church, and I was a preacher”
He recalled with a strong sense of wonder,
I want you to know that I had a life!–
until it was all torn asunder!”
I reached for my purse but he stared me down–
“I don’t want your pity,” he said,
But perhaps you can buy me a good cup of coffee,
In a few weeks, I know I’ll be dead”
So I bought him a coffee and a Danish to go with;
He accepted my offering with grace;
I went on my way but I couldn’t forget
A lost soul’s dejected old face.
I never forgot that lonely lost soul,
and I never saw him again,
But whenever I meet one of his brothers,
I ask “Can I buy you some coffee, my friend?”
Sandra Lee Smith
originally posted 2009/updated September 10, 2018