An Irish Vagrant in London

Your eyes stare at me from under your matted hair,
The layers of dirt and neglect even deeper than pity or shame.
You do not question me; there is neither wonder nor curiosity there.
Nor do you ask, plead, beg.
Why should you?
It’s too late and yet too early for that.
And your old, accusing look has been replaced
By a blank stillness.

But those eyes.
Even frozen, you are more alert, more alive than I,
I in my winter boots and long scarf.
It is strange to think that
Whilst living has eluded one of us,
Dying has escaped the other.
And it’s hard to tell which is which.

Copyright © Vicki Watson 2013

Image by Don McCullin, 1968

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