Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday Poem: The Stations of the Bucket Man


One Monday, Mr Jones walked out
of his Tinakori Hill campsite
with his birth certificate
bank statement and will
knelt in the gutter
at the intersection
of Grant and Park Streets
and died.


He was an urban Man Alone
before he went bush in the city.
His mother said his downfall
was his (bleeding) sensitivity.


The artist who painted him
with a halo and cross
was asking us to reflect
on what we would say
if we met on the street.


He stopped daily
at the Golden Arches
buying coffee and a bite to eat
in lieu of loaves and fishes.


The stockbroker’s assistant
nearly threw him out
of the counting-house
seeing he was not a Pharisee.


From his portrait
he looks over the shoulder
of the businessman
who wanted to buy his burial.
Who does he think he is?


One Christmas
there was room for him at the table
but he declined
stopping instead on the porch
to chat about the garden.


When he gave Wellington’s poor
money and clothes given him
they were, for a while
rich beyond relief.


In church he placed in the plate
twenty dollars just given him
then said to his benefactor
two would do.


One cold night
not long before he left us
he rested in a bus shelter
and told a passing Samaritan
he was alright
and thank you for asking.


At his funeral it was said
how useful a bucket was
living on the street –
for washing at the public fountain
for carrying things in
for using as a hat
when God wept on you.


Blessed are Wellington’s homeless
for they shall inherit the earth
on Tinakori Hill.

Credit note: 'The Stations of the Bucket Man appears in my debut collection Tongues of Ash. It was first published in JAAM 26.

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  1. Very candid and honest - loved it. I will have to search out your collection for more!

  2. I "like", Keith--welcome to the Tuesday Poem community. And it was nice to meet you in person last week, however briefly.:)

  3. I love this poem Keith! And you've beaten me to it - I was going to email you to ask you if I could publish it as a Tuesday Poem myself. I was so pleased to open your book and find this poem in there - it's a definite favourite of mine.


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