(Findlater Street 1959)

The sound came faintly, growing
As he slowly worked the street.
A gentle song of unrequited love
Sung true to note in a voice
That once was strong.
The lilting rolling song matched
By his lolling rolling gait, moved closer.
The Streetsinger came calling
Once or twice a year.
Never asking, never begging,
Just singing, hoping, trusting.
Closer now his face reflected
Hardship, the ups and downs, and downs
Of life lived hard.
In someone else’s shoes and shirt and tie,
Clean but tired and faded.
He wore his broken heart
On his shabby shiny sleeve.
The song moved on and faded
As he worked his way back down the other side.
Then stopped.
Looked at his meager coins,
Walked sad slow steps away.

Another street. Another song.

We never knew his name but we remember.
Did he recall Findlater Street,
A young boy holding out a single shiny shilling.

He gave us more than we gave him.

Martin Swords, February 2000