The Sixth Liturgical Hour ~ None

She stands

on the corner

behind her hand`scrawled sign

silent begging for what I suspect

must be more than simply one more meal

The sign reads, ‘Hungry! Homeless! Help!’

Her eyes, though seemingly sober,

don’t want to connect

with mine 


Like others

after an initial gawk

I awkwardly look the other way

as though she is not really there at all

As though there is no room in this tidy world

for those whose lives have somewhere run aground

and who, abandoning all dignity and pride

turn with outstretched hand to ask

a stranger for love


I am torn

between pity for her plight

and an irrational sense of offense

at the thought that I should somehow be its cure

even as by my neglect I participate in its cause

Before I realize it, her crisis has become

the conflict of my own conscience

I too, after all, am

but a beggar


Christ Jesus,

you have become the woman

with the sign standing on my corner

Hungry Homeless Helpless Hand outstretched

Our encounter is not in the end about your poverty

but about my persistent blindness to my own

For out of the checkbook of my pride

I have filled up my cupboards

by forgetting you

[Prayers for the Liturgical Hours]


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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2 Responses to The Sixth Liturgical Hour ~ None

  1. Morgan says:

    This is so powerful and so sadly Everyday. We are so fortunate to be blessed abundantly…and must remember to share that blessing. Bravo!

    Blessings of Inspiration, This Day, Every Day ~


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