Thursday, April 7, 2011

The People's Park


[google images]

For the Real Toads challenge: write about a square somewhere in the world

Noon hour
chimes
in Pigeon Park,
the small square
where the residents
of Vancouver's
Downtown East Side
are surviving
another day
of living
on the edge.

On the grass,
sleepers are grateful
for the
early spring sun,
better than
winter's
concrete doorways.
They twitch and mutter
through their
haunted dreams.
On a nearby bench,
a weathered old gent
takes a long pull
from a bottle
partly hidden
in a paper bag.
He watches passersby
with a jaundiced eye,
spits loudly,
wipes his mouth on his sleeve,
stares resignedly into
the middle distance.

An elderly woman
pushes her cart,
piled high,
her life packed
 into garbage bags,
lots of warm things
against the
nighttime chill.

A starving dog
with matted fur
and defeated eyes
noses the litter
around a garbage can,
flinching at any
sudden movement.

The pigeons for whom
the park is named
strut, cooing and bobbing,
all around the
concrete square.
An elderly gent with
a surviving twinkle in his eye
tosses them bread crusts
and smiles as they flutter close.

A squirrel perches alertly
on the back of a park bench,
watching the man,
eyeing the bread,
calculating his chances.
The man holds out
a crust, stays still.
The squirrel pauses,
skitters forward,
stops again,
then bounds nimbly over,
snatches the bread
from his fingers and
races off,
tail aloft,
cheeks bulging
with his prize.

The people
in the people's park
meet each other's eyes,
and smile.
A small moment of kindness,
of mercy,
of connection
lifts their hearts,
that are
so ready to be lifted.

Just a little hope
to make it
through
another day,
alive,
on Planet Earth.


[image from walrusmagazine.com]

3 comments:

  1. Nice response to the square.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The people
    in the people's park
    meet each other's eyes,
    and smile...

    Such a touching portrait of those who call the square their home.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You have really brought the square alive, Sherry. I have been in Vancouver, don't know that I have seen Pigeon Park. So sad about the people and animals who frequent it. Most often hidden from a lot of people's view. YOU brought it to life.

    ReplyDelete

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