Weekly Post Challenge: “Weight(less)”

Black and white BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada contemporary street homeless photography

The Defence Rests

For this non-challenge I chose a shot that, to me, carries weight.

I lie on this street corner hoping to dream of heaven.
It’s difficult to sleep as the sidewalk is so hard.
People see me and pass me by.
I know what they think.
Most keep it to themselves but some come straight out with it.
“So call a cop!” I say.
I am cuffed and hauled into their court of public opinion.
I stand accused of flagrant addictions.
I stand accused of being demented.
I stand accused of spending my life making mistakes and stupid choices.
I stand accused of being a misfit.
I stand accused of being screwed by the system
But that charge is quickly dropped as it doesn’t support the prima facie case.
They charge me where I lay
But they really don’t know which charges to enter on the docket.
I dare plea innocent of all charges
But they’re content to make them all stick.
They sentence me to stay right there on the street where they found me.
They sentence me to die, and
I don’t resist.
Instead of spare change, I need real change but I don’t know how to go about it.
I want salvation but I fear that even God and his angles will not have mercy on my soul.
Court is adjourned but the trial isn’t quite over.
I’ve felt myself slipping away for an awfully long time but
This time it’s different;
The sidewalk no longer feels too hard.
I think that I will finally get some rest
Dreaming of heaven.

29 thoughts on “Weekly Post Challenge: “Weight(less)”

  1. We have listened to all sides”to it all” as I sit and talk to these Losers, Societies misfits, Product of the “system, dysfunctional family” Or these Dregs of Society, Where does the problem really Lie. its a (tuff) call, I refuse to blame the man that sits there all day, with a hat begging, while siting beside that man, I see all types beside me, Ones out to fulfil there fix for the day.Or the ones that refuse the help and having to have Authority tell them “Rules” when there life has been one disappointment after another.I wont blame the ones that walk By, or do the “OSTRICH”, When You ask what the meaning of Empathy means to each person, you may here, Many different answers. There are many problems//Reasons//NO Judging here so Start with the main 3=Society, Education and Consumerism.To figure it all out would take a mega computer, Like B.O.I.N.C. (google it) or a waste of money and let Humans come up with a way to correct it.Its here, in the US whole families sleep under overpasses and it just gets worse.What to do, who knows, but Sit beside one of these people, talk to them, without fear, expectations, If we all do that, maybe those that have spoke, can help them help themselves,
    Good one Philosopher

    Thanks

    Doug

  2. Pingback: WPC: Weightless (Falling Diagonally) | Chris Breebaart Photography / What's (in) the picture?

    • There’s only so much loss, hardship and lack of compassion the one can take in this world. When it becomes truly overwhelming, conditions that we shouldn’t get used to can start to seem like salvation for some.

  3. Such well-written text, Allan. Some people do have it hard in this world. If only ever passerby could spare a dollar for that homeless guy on the ground, he could potentially have a shot at a better life. Then again, maybe he is on the verge of going off the rails. And what about all the others just like him… Wonderful perspective on this challenge.

    • I couldn’t find out for certain if he actually was homeless. I’ve come across a number who truly were, and others who weren’t but strictly because of mental issues — gone off the rails, they’d wander the streets and lie down in public places like this until the police or someone else recognized them as missing from someone’s home. Sometimes it’s too late. They’re found dead somewhere — even in another city far away, from exposure.

      A considerable problem for many with mental illness are the side effects of their prescription drugs. Perhaps especially the ones used for depression and schizophrenia. Patients feel so unlike themselves that many stop taking their meds because they’d rather go haywire in one way or another than feel the way they do on the meds. They start feeling better while off of the substances but the public feels worse when they see outpatients appearing to be homeless or worse, when they become a real danger to others.

      Even when homelessness is an issue, there often are many other bigger root causes that must be solved in order to strip away the dire poverty. Identifying those root causes is often the easy part. Solving them is not. It takes a colossal amount of time, money, housing, medical supervision, patients and even luck because some people truly cannot be cured. All of these things are in terribly short supply when it comes to those who wander the streets in this manner.

      It’s very impressive that we can operate a remote controlled probe on Mars but we still haven’t figured out how to deal with situations like this right here on Terra firma.

      Giving street people the money directly isn’t always the right thing to do either. Sometimes it is but other times it better to take whatever time is necessary to research large and small organizations that aren’t scams, and deserve financial donations and investment for helping those in need.

      We all want quick, easy and guilt-free answers to this but there really aren’t any as yet.

      • A great analayse of the image and the context surrounding it. If we can all stop greed, start being more compassionate and start judging those we see on the streets, then we might get somewhere creating equality in this world.

    • I looked that one up. It’s in a poem by William Blake:

      AUGURIES of INNOCENCE

      To see a World in a Grain of Sand
      And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
      Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
      And Eternity in an hour
      A Robin Red breast in a Cage
      Puts all Heaven in a Rage
      A Dove house filld with Doves & Pigeons
      Shudders Hell thr’ all its regions
      A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
      Predicts the ruin of the State
      A Horse misusd upon the Road
      Calls to Heaven for Human blood
      Each outcry of the hunted Hare
      A fibre from the Brain does tear
      A Skylark wounded in the wing
      A Cherubim does cease to sing
      The Game Cock clipd & armd for fight
      Does the Rising Sun affright
      Every Wolfs & Lions howl
      Raises from Hell a Human Soul
      The wild deer, wandring here & there
      Keeps the Human Soul from Care
      The Lamb misusd breeds Public Strife
      And yet forgives the Butchers knife
      The Bat that flits at close of Eve
      Has left the Brain that wont Believe
      The Owl that calls upon the Night
      Speaks the Unbelievers fright
      He who shall hurt the little Wren
      Shall never be belovd by Men
      He who the Ox to wrath has movd
      Shall never be by Woman lovd
      The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
      Shall feel the Spiders enmity
      He who torments the Chafers Sprite
      Weaves a Bower in endless Night
      The Catterpiller on the Leaf
      Repeats to thee thy Mothers grief
      Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly
      For the Last Judgment draweth nigh
      He who shall train the Horse to War
      Shall never pass the Polar Bar
      The Beggars Dog & Widows Cat
      Feed them & thou wilt grow fat
      The Gnat that sings his Summers Song
      Poison gets from Slanders tongue
      The poison of the Snake & Newt
      Is the sweat of Envys Foot
      The poison of the Honey Bee
      Is the Artists Jealousy
      The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags
      Are Toadstools on the Misers Bags
      A Truth thats told with bad intent
      Beats all the Lies you can invent
      It is right it should be so
      Man was made for Joy & Woe
      And when this we rightly know
      Thro the World we safely go
      Joy & Woe are woven fine
      A Clothing for the soul divine
      Under every grief & pine
      Runs a joy with silken twine
      The Babe is more than swadling Bands
      Throughout all these Human Lands
      Tools were made & Born were hands
      Every Farmer Understands
      Every Tear from Every Eye
      Becomes a Babe in Eternity
      This is caught by Females bright
      And returnd to its own delight
      The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar
      Are Waves that Beat on Heavens Shore
      The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
      Writes Revenge in realms of Death
      The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air
      Does to Rags the Heavens tear
      The Soldier armd with Sword & Gun
      Palsied strikes the Summers Sun
      The poor Mans Farthing is worth more
      Than all the Gold on Africs Shore
      One Mite wrung from the Labrers hands
      Shall buy & sell the Misers Lands
      Or if protected from on high
      Does that whole Nation sell & buy
      He who mocks the Infants Faith
      Shall be mockd in Age & Death
      He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
      The rotting Grave shall neer get out
      He who respects the Infants faith
      Triumphs over Hell & Death
      The Childs Toys & the Old Mans Reasons
      Are the Fruits of the Two seasons
      The Questioner who sits so sly
      Shall never know how to Reply
      He who replies to words of Doubt
      Doth put the Light of Knowledge out
      The Strongest Poison ever known
      Came from Caesars Laurel Crown
      Nought can Deform the Human Race
      Like to the Armours iron brace
      When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
      To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow
      A Riddle or the Crickets Cry
      Is to Doubt a fit Reply
      The Emmets Inch & Eagles Mile
      Make Lame Philosophy to smile
      He who Doubts from what he sees
      Will neer Believe do what you Please
      If the Sun & Moon should Doubt
      Theyd immediately Go out
      To be in a Passion you Good may Do
      But no Good if a Passion is in you
      The Whore & Gambler by the State
      Licencd build that Nations Fate
      The Harlots cry from Street to Street
      Shall weave Old Englands winding Sheet
      The Winners Shout the Losers Curse
      Dance before dead Englands Hearse
      Every Night & every Morn
      Some to Misery are Born
      Every Morn and every Night
      Some are Born to sweet delight
      Some are Born to sweet delight
      Some are Born to Endless Night
      We are led to Believe a Lie
      When we see not Thro the Eye
      Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
      When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
      God Appears & God is Light
      To those poor Souls who dwell in Night
      But does a Human Form Display
      To those who Dwell in Realms of day

      I have always enjoyed his paintings but I’m not familiar with his poetry. Here’s Wikipedia’s article on it:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auguries_of_Innocence

      • The fifth from last line reminds me of the second verse in the lyrics to Sting’s “Fortress Around Your Heart”:

        “Crumbling towers and beams of yellow light”

        Blake’s poem may have inspired the line in Sting’s song. One about a bitter divorce and eventual acceptance of the loss; undoubtedly Sting’s between him and his first wife.

        I’ve always loved that song. It’s extremely well crafted, and reminds me of my mother’s divorce from my father.

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