An activist wannabe questions whether he actually cares about the people he purports to want to help. In ‘poetry’.
A lone cleaning woman shuffles about
Broom and pan in gnarled and weary hand
Sweeping up the discarded cigarette butts and ash
Flicked carelessly on the ground under a ‘No Smoking’ sign
Bent over with suffering born of inconsideration, she utters not one
Word of complaint, nor does she
Curse those who have added to her cares.
I want to reach out, apologise
For callously adding my own detritus to the pile,
For making her life harder than it needed to be,
Yet I do not.
A man comes up to my table
Offering some few knick-knacks for sale,
Pleading for something to ease his burden,
For someone to see him as a human being,
Yet I cannot, will not do so.
Is it the awkward feeling I get when my
Personal space is invaded?
The fact that I don’t want to break the fifty in my wallet?
Or does it go deeper than these silly little excuses?
The ‘untouchables’, the ‘little people’, the ‘nobodies’
The leaflet passers, the hookers, the beggars, the junkies
The ‘invisible people’
Appear with such clarity that I stand naked, helpless,
Condemned by my indifference
Before a court of accusers whom I had refused to notice before.
A million fingers pointed at me,
And I can do nothing but struggle under the weight of an overpowering
Guilt, a weight lighter still than
The cross I had forced them to bear.
For all that I profess and am seen to
Love humanity in the abstract,
The concrete reality is a bit trickier to handle.
Slumbering in my little feel-good bubble,
How can I justify what I do when I care not
For the people I’m supposed to be doing this for?
I cannot wonder any more why I’m so unlovable
When I’ve proven to myself that I’m so unloving.
If there’s a loving God above looking down,
Teach me how to share Your love
Because I do not know if I have any of my own to give.
Thean See Xien is a horrible person who has failed to live up to Edmund Bon’s exhortation to ‘reach out and touch someone’. He would like to eventually be able to practice compassion and love instead of merely preaching it.