Father Lazarus –

Edvard Søderberg: Poems of the Street

Father Lazarus wanders from house to house
in clogs and holed socks;
he scrapes with his stick in the garbage
and adds findings to his stock.

Father Lazarus’ brow is wrinkled and grey,
the beard as wiry as the wig;
with running eyes and quivering mouth
he saunters quietly in the shade.

Father Lazarus’ wife is angry and evil
and swears with her sharp voice;
she searches his pockets and empties his mug
and beats him when he’s in the house.

Father Lazarus’ sons take the long way ‘round
when they meet their old man in the street;
two rascals who roam and drink and fight
and catcalls the girls of the street.

Father Lazarus’ daughters are who knows where;
two girls with eyes that shone –
One day he was out, the door was left open,
and then! the birds had flown.

Father Lazarus lives in the castle high,
on the loft with the roof as his window;
he makes his bed with the bird’s feathers
and covers his bed with a cloth.

Father Lazarus mumbles his evening prayer
and the crooked hands he folds
and dreams that he wanders about with his bag
up there, where the stars unfold