A day at a time…

one’s trash is another’s treasure-

look at those kids in rags,

barely aged 5, 8, and 10,

scrounging through the garbage heaps,

picking up the shiny objects

a broken toy or a tattered vest,

looking for that copper coin,

another to join, in their tiny collection,

to be spent for a night’s sustenance,

bare feet, they traverse through alleys,

and streets and the crowded markets,

waiting for someone to drop a pence,

or may be a note of 10,

“Yay!”- a thing of wonder for them,

how pitiless I appear, when I think of them,

while sipping through a long glass,

of orange juice, the color of their burnt skin,

they earned through their daily ritual,

through (un)familiar ways of reality,

working towards a way, to survive,

a day at a time


Such conflicting emotions make their way into the coils of mind whenever I see the rag-pickers. I do not want to pity, neither do I want to ignore… somehow, I end up not thinking at all.

Written in consideration of Poetry Jam.

Photo source

16 thoughts on “A day at a time…

  1. I love poems that tell about real people. People come by and take our cans out of the recycle bin every Sunday night. I am glad that they can put them to use. When I was in Jr. High School, we had a teacher in home economics who would take us on field trips to the dump. Very interesting stuff people throw away. My daughter’s home is furnished with pieces she picked up off the roadside. 🙂


  2. Very well written and so very true. We often forget in our society of abundance that the world is very often a very harsh place to live. My compliments for this great poem.


  3. peggygoetz says:

    I like this portrait of life that so many people walk right by and try not to see. (Great photo as well, by the way.) My poem for this trash prompt is also about a person who lived by recycling what others threw away. This is a way of life for so many more than we like to think. Thanks for linking this at Poetry Jam!


  4. looking for that copper coin – I love this line and it sums it up for me, that search for gold that is only really copper. This is quite provoking and makes me question my own motives. Well done.


  5. I like your viewpoint here. It really resonates with me. So much of what we throw away wouid be treasured by those with less than we have. It is humbling really to consider the differences; and that is driven home by your poem!


  6. It takes a discerning heart to witness squalor and recognize joy in its midst. Life is irrationally hard for too many, and ease for most of us is not appreciated nearly enough to balance this out.


  7. How true HA – one man’s trash another man’s treasure. I think how you feel is completely normal. It can be a difficult thing to help those that are more needy than us at times. It is sad, as other comments have been made – a harsh reality in a world where so many are healthy and wealthy and others like the children of the streets, live moment to moment.
    This was written with much thought and brings about questions that should be answered.


  8. Victoria Hendricks says:

    I am crying over this one. It is beautifully crafted and echoes feelings I have too. The image of burned skin the color of orange juice in a tall glass especially touches me. Thank you for a work of painful beauty.


  9. Helen says:

    A beautifully composed poem …. I often hand clothing we no longer need to homeless men and women who need help … Especially now as colder weather approaches.


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