By Fiza Pathan
She was dressed in rags, which smelt of wed mud
and her face was covered in grime so dark,
that her complexion seemed dusky.
No more than seven years of age, this beggar girl
stood outside the coffee shop I frequent
begging for a bite to eat.
The élite passed her by indifferent and sipped
their expensive cappuccino with glee …
but I couldn’t put down my bread and butter.
I couldn’t eat after I had seen this little girl hungry
for when I looked closely I realized
that her eyes were emerald-green.
An awkward colour to an inhabitant of the Deccan
was the eyes of this mud flower that I gazed at her,
with disbelief written on my face.
Whose foreign seed was she,
who had been abandoned on the streets
with a begging bowl as her only possession?
Whose foreign daughter was she who
had now to live the life of a wandering vagabond
without any dream or goal in life,
except that hunger within her that pushes her to beg?
For the sake of pity, I called her into the posh coffee shop,
to the distaste of all within who
couldn’t stand the stench of her muddy feet.
I fed her bread and butter with a cup of strong tea
that brought some colour to her tired face.
Her beautiful eyes gleamed in the sunlight
dazzling me into a poetical mood of sorts.
After finishing her breakfast, she smiled at me
and asked me whether she could take
some bread and butter home to her sick mother
who lay feverish on the streets a few miles away.
I gifted her a whole loaf of bread and some money
─seeing the bounty she was receiving,
she beamed her delicious smile, which transported me
to the realm of the God pauper who feeds souls
with words of comfort from God Himself.
She left but not totally ─ her burden
remains heavy upon my conscience,
which reminds me of the cruel lash of poverty
upon my country’s back so tender.
Her emerald eyes still
bedazzle me to enchantment.
Her dirty countenance seemed to grow dim
in the light of the sparkle
of these exotic emerald-green eyes.
Copyright © 2014 by Fiza Pathan
Image courtesy: Google images