From the Archives: "For Alms Sake" by Edith Faalong

We went to beg for alms,
so they called a roundtable of vultures
and passed round a basket.
Each dropped in it a metalic coin with glee.

I peeped in the basket:
It was the same old basket
lined with the grey of age,
the straw at its sides ripping slowly apart.

When it got to the end of the table,
it was barely full.
So they called their butler.

He stood before us all and,
pouring pressure and complexities,
he filled the basket.

We wanted to leave then.
But the sound of metal life against itself
in the basket weighed down our pants.
And so with our heads bowed,
we reached deep in our pockets, pulled
out our few gold coins,
wrapped them delicately
in white handkerchiefs
and handed them over.

Then the tallest among us cheered.
We all prostrated and gave our thanks.

The most leprotic of them lifted his glass
and everyone accepted his toast.
The deed had been done,
the deal closed.
Sitting back up and looking from face to face,
I saw men become swine.

From the centre of the table,
there was a loud noise then
I saw spider webs push out,
rush in all directions,
and bind each beggar
'til we were forced to drop the basket.

But we could not have our Gold
nor our white handkerchiefs back.

So in the end, in the end,
we went home with only
what the butler brought
clinging to us.

Old poems at OGOV don't die, but live on in our archives! Every once in a while we will dust one off for our newer readers to enjoy. "For Alms Sake" was orginally published on OGOV on April 5th, 2008.
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