Justice! –

Edvard Søderberg: Poems of the Street

They threw her things into the street:
straw mattress, wooden bed, a stand;
some poor stuff lying around. – She stood
stared helplessly at what she had.

They closed the gates. The noisy wind
swept through the alley; rain fell down –
poor woman, tired, tearless, silent stood,
shoulders covered in a shroud.

A poor girl, one who merely knows
hunger and labour - who wildly fled
an evening from her home and found a friend
who soon was gone, and she forgot. -

The wind cried, the rain fell…
An old man, elegantly dressed,
was touched and compassionately
dropped a coin as he went past.

Bravo, father! – But if you think the coin
you threw in her direction then
has been sufficient and settled the matter,
you are wrong, my friend.

Compassion… Sure! A lousy coin
to poverty’s lap from prosperity –
a saved conscience, a calm rest,
bought for a coin – for a loaf of bread!

Do you think that since your account’s full
that you’ve got first class tickets to life’s feast,
and that the good God didn’t as well invite
his poorer children as guests?

Justice – for the thousands on these streets
who strive their lives in laborious sweat!
Justice, my friend, and nothing else! -
Save your money, and your pity as well.