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

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