There he was, sleeping on the outside of a bank window with a sign behind him that stated, “We shine when we have the courage to take the first step.” A saying that is trademarked by SunTrust Bank in Atlanta.
I thought to myself, “How many steps had this man taken in order to get to this resting point?” His shoes were badly worn and his left heel was covered in scabs and dry skin as if he had marched for miles. His left arm had 10 or more razor cuts just above his elbow. On his right arm, he was wearing an old and faded hospital bracelet.
His bag was full of cardboard signs for nearly every occasion suitable for a variety of situations. One sign highlighted the unofficial “Gay South,” which happens to be Atlanta, Georgia, according to the Georgia Voice. Another sign read, “White Power is for Sissies.”
I wanted so badly to wake him to inquire more about his sign collection, his shoes and where he had been in them, the razor cuts on his arm and the hospital bracelet, but I didn’t. I simply stood for a mere minute and watched as people walked past him without ever turning to see who this man was or what he stands for.
William Morris said, “The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” Morris, an English poet and social activist in the 1800’s, would have stood for hours studying this man and the folks who passed him by.
While I am far from a socialist, I do find Morris quite interesting and I have to wonder, what would he of written in his weekly newspaper about this man? His paper was entitled “Justice."
Morris, who demanded improved housing for workers in London, free lunch programs at schools, compulsory education for all children and eight hour work days for laborers, was the definition of socialism. Morris was laughed at and mocked by many for his thoughts and admired by hundreds of thousands.
Perhaps Morris wrote this (below) while watching a similar soul sleep, never feeling the love of others and living without cover in the 1800’s:
What part of the dread eternity
Are those strange minutes that I gain,
Mazed with the doubt of love and pain,
When I thy delicate face may see,
A little while before farewell?
What share of the world’s yearning-tide
That flash, when new day bare and white
Blots out my half-dream’s faint delight,
And there is nothing by my side,
And well remembered is farewell?
What drop in the grey flood of tears
That time, when the long day toiled through,
Worn out, shows nought for me to do,
And nothing worth my labour bears
The longing of that last farewell?
What pity from the heavens above,
What heed from out eternity,
What word from the swift world for me?
Speak, heed, and pity, O tender love,
Who knew’st the days before farewell!