A Question Of Priorities

When walking through the Underground I came upon a man
Who had his face not been so red, Iím sure would have looked wan.
Propped upright in a corner, cider bottle on the floor,
He stood up as I passed by, saying: Please sir, help the poor.

As I was going nowhere fast, I stopped and turned to him;
His clothes were filthy rags, his eyes were wild, his face was grim.
He held out a scorbutic hand and repeated his plea:
Take pity on a beggar, sir, he said accusingly.

I smiled at him as best I could: Have you been sleeping rough?
These last eight years, replied the fellow, and itís mighty tough.
And when was the last time you ate? said I; he shook his head:
The day ífore yesterday, I think, a crust or two of bread.

My hand reached for my wallet, an act I would soon regret;
He took the note and said: Thanks, Iíd kill for a cigarette.

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