Polly

Writings and Witterings

Generosity

48 Comments

She won’t give money,
she suspects it would go
not on food – probably on blow –
so buys a sandwich and hands it over;
her surprise when it’s given to Rover
leads to anger, a decision to never
give to the man who sits on the corner.

He sees her coming with gift in hand,
a patron’s smile, a look so grand,
Lady Bountiful in Jimmy Choo shoes.
The dog is suffering, they’ve had no food
for three days.
The dog has stopped his whining, soldier.
He’s glad of the food and gives half to the stray
sees the look on her face and is about to say
‘Thank you, I’ll have a bite, too.’
But she’s gone, she’s through,
Lady B in her Jimmy Choo shoes.

Polly Robinson Β© 2012

In reponse to ManicDdaily ie Karin Gusafson’s prompt UnexpectedΒ Poetics on dVerse Poetics where she’s tending bar in the Poet’s Pub ~ based on a story told to me ten years ago …

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48 thoughts on “Generosity

  1. A nice tale of misunderstanding. Well told.

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  2. i really like this as it plays on our expectations as we give… we give and we expect something even if we say we don’t expect something, we expect thankfulness and that the receiver does with the gift what we think he should do…then the unexpected happens and we get angry… i have a good friend who taught me the lesson: “if you think you should give, you give and then you let go…whatever happens” and we learn this in several ways…really good piece polly…and i stop talking now…smiles

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  3. The poem is very good. Never know the real story unless we listen and have concern. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Ah, the good old actor-observer effect. We fool ourselves if we think we know what others think, what is important to them.

    A thoughtful piece.

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  5. I like the use of the two perspectives, Polly. It’s all too easy to see the world only through our own blinkered viewpoint.

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  6. smiles….nice…love your play on our misconceptions…and our prejudices as well…i will often give food as well as opposed to money and there are some that will not appreciate it but more often than not i am pleasantly surprised…i used to buy a sack of burgers and sit with the homeless in baltimore just to hear their stories…

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  7. Thoughts from a naive poetry learner:

    I kind of get it. Little fuzzy.
    I got lost in the pronouns.
    The first stanza was clear.
    But the Second stanza:
    1st line “He” – the dog, the first stanza beggar, ….?
    4th line “they”: dog and new master? different beggar.
    why “soldier”
    He’s glad of the food — a guy, another dog? dog gives to dog?
    I am all confused
    And I had to look up Jimmy Choo (not a shoe person or into fashion)
    I left liking Lady B!

    And I wanted to get this poem — it is fun — showing that feeding the dog is good — making fun of the first stanza’s judgementalism?

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  8. Hey, Sabio, great feedback πŸ™‚

    Pronouns can be tricky … glad the first stanza was clear.

    Re second stanza ~ ‘He’ [the man] sees her coming and ‘He’ [the man] is glad of the food as ‘they’ [the man and the dog] haven’t eaten for three days. I refer to the man as ‘He’ throughout the second stanza and the dog as ‘the dog’ so the meaning should become clear on further readings ~ ‘the stray’ also alludes to the dog [a stray dog until adopted by the beggar].

    There is a saying ‘stop your whining soldier’ which I have ‘word-played’ with in this poem ~ I can’t recall where it’s from [it may be from a games DVD]. Hence ‘The dog has stopped his whining, soldier.’

    heh-heh re looking up Jimmy Choo! No worries ~ you know who he is now for sure!

    How nice that you like Lady B. Some will prefer the beggar. For me, as long as folk can see there are two distinct points of view, all’s OK.

    And yes, you’ve absolutely got it ~ feeding the dog is a good thing and makes fun of the first stanza’s judgementalism. See? You’re not so confused after all πŸ˜€

    Thank you so much for your comments, I’ve really enjoyed going through them ~ Polly

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  9. Someone needs to remember:

    But you, whenever you do charity giving, let not your left know what your right is doing.

    Charity is not about the giver feeling good!

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  10. Awesome message in this, Polly. We are often too quick to judge, and we also tend to want to attach strings to our charity. I’ve had a policy all my life about loaning money; I tell them it’s a gift, and if they want to pay it back, give it to someone in need. No strings; no hard feelings… ever.

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  11. Hey Polly,
    thanx for the reply — filled it all out !

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  12. I totally get it! In the first stanza I was angry with the beggar. In the second stanza I understood that the beggar was less selfish than the woman was with her gift of the sandwich. He gave some of what he had to the dog, which demonstrates his compassion despite his hunger. A very clever poem with a lesson.

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  13. Loved the peek into both minds. I wonder how many of our interactions suffer this same fate of misperception?

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  14. Hi Polly – very interesting shifting perspective here – everyone has someone to give to, or not. Well told. k.

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  15. Interesting poem. Interesting that we give and then expect to control what happens to the gift. Liked the two perspectives.

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  16. Oh this just breaks my heart – for the man and even more so for the dog. Yes, he knew far greater generosity than that woman, whose shoes could have fed him for months. So sad.

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    • Sherry ~ so true ~ so sad ~ how many will have missed that the shoes alone could have fed the two of them, man and dog, for many months?

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

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  17. I actually liked the ‘fuzziness’ of it. These situations are never easy and actions can become misinterpreted so quickly. A nice little story told with an easy rhythm.

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  18. I really enjoyed this poem, very thought provoking and it really made me feel for the man. It also made me think about a lot of popular preconceptions we hold against homeless people and the fact that I’m probably guilty of alot of them myself.

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  19. I enjoy the honesty pricked from this encounter. Your juxtapositions are firm and your flow seems to be a bit of a play on how these things really do evolve as they happen. Loved it, Polly.

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    • I like the way you refer to ‘the honesty pricked from this encounter’ ~ and that you consider the juxtapostions firm ~ I strive to be ‘real’ Jane, as you will know.

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  20. It’s interesting cos the lady may be going on her way without seeing the guy to say thanks, cos she might actually be embarrassed by her own affluence compared with his situation. We could assume that she’s going off in a huff because he’s not used her gift as she would like… but she could have other reasons for turning on her heel and scarpering?

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  21. I love what you’ve done here, it brings one of the great aspects of the novel into a poem. Wonderful.

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  22. On the face of it, your poem highlights the contrast between the thoughts and misconceptions of these two people. But my immediate thoughts were about the difference between giving and sharing. There are such differing motives and emotions packed into those actions.

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  23. Ah generosity – giving without strings or expectations…
    πŸ™‚
    Beautifully thought provoking.

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  24. This reminds me – once a gift is given, it is all for the receiver to dispose of or use as he pleases. It is wise for the giver to remember that he loses control over anything he gives away simply because it is no longer his.

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