COLLECTING OLD CLOTHES
(While working for The Salvation Army in West London, I was often invited to collect 'jumble'. While some people simply wanted to offload their junk, others had precious treasure to donate. It was important to distinguished between the two)
She packed them in a cardboard box
And locked them in the garden shed:
Neatly folded shirts and socks.
"These were his working boots" she said.
The books, beside his rake and shears
Awaken thoughts too deep for tears.
"His Sunday suit as good as new
Some pensioner might be glad to get ...
Did you mind me ringing you?
He said he never would forget
Your people's service in the war."
O Time. You blunt the lion's paw!
"Salvation Army'll know a way,
I thought ... how kind to come so soon ...
'When I retire' he used to say
'We'll have another honeymoon.
"But then he took his stroke instead ..."
Have mercy, Lord of quick and dead.
"Leftovers you can use for jumble.
It's lonely really. Folk don't care.
Still, we really mustn't grumble.
Would you kindly say a prayer?"
The rotting shed becomes a shrine;
They also serve who live and pine.
Crowning the carton tied with string
The sacred footwear blocks my view.
Why bother with this sort of thing?
They think you've nothing else to do...
O falsest friend whose base complaint
Profanes the relics of a saint!