Old Karl Marx by Ian Hill
A lonesome figure spurned by all
Who often sleeps by churchyard wall
Plods down the track with shambling gait
His leafy bed soon to locate.
A tangled beard all reeking now
And ragged hair on furrowed brow –
An outcast, vagrant, wanderer he
Proclaims the fact, unwelcome be.
The locals call him old Karl Marx –
Of books and learning nickname harks
And village children out at play
Will often try to ape the way
He staggers round bereft of reason
Through the ever-changing season.
He carries his burdens without care
A life of freedom few would share
And most avoid him if they try
When passing on the high street nigh.
Just like the others, eyes downcast,
They move to pavement’s edge till past
Until a local happens to stray –
Facing Karl in the lane one day.
A confrontation’s due at last –
The un-avoided die is cast.
In hope Karl’s passing’s over soon
The local bids ‘good afternoon’
In vain attempt maybe to try
And feign his hurriedness to fly.
Without a pause and in their pass
He sees Karl’s blue eyes flash at last.
Why ‘yes indeed my friend,’ Karl says,
‘I wish God’s bounty and his praise
And hope your day, like mine, is fine,
Worthwhile, and positively shines.’
He still greets Karl now in the lane
And always ponders to his shame
How misconceived and biased views
Result in labelling those who lose.
A lesson learned, and ne’r forgot
He’ll now for Karl more time allot.