Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Good Neighbors: 4. Thursday

Have pity on me,
have compassion;
you are a person just like me,
so try to understand;
accept me, and I'll feel okay.

I came here to make a better life.
I share a room with five other guys,
so I can send my earnings home.

I know I don’t belong here,
I would rather be at home;
I know my presence offends you,
but you need me to do all the work
you cannot bring yourself to do.
It’s not that I look different,
not that I trip over your words;
my sin is that I am here.

You call it free country,
and then you take it back;
I work for you, and you speak against me
—you think of me as inferior.

I was born of inequality;
this is the stain you helped make,
a stain you cannot wash out
—the truth is on you.

Greet me,
and I’ll feel acknowledged;
pay me,
and I’ll feel my worth
—an honest share will bring me joy,
and I’ll forget how tired I am;
my spirit will be uplifted,
and I will call you fair.

Don’t push me out;
you need me too much,
and I need you, too
—we need one another.

If we can share this beautiful life,
if we can stand together for what is just,
the world will be a better place for everyone.

We both put our heart out there,
we both make sacrifices;
let’s build, from small kindnesses,
a world we can all share,
where everyone has a rightful place.

© 2015 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

This poem is part of a cycle based on the so-called seven Penitential Psalms. The subtitle of the cycle is “Psalms from the Streets”. This entry is based on Psalm 51, and could be subtitled, “The Alien.”

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