Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Beggar's Song

This is a song I wrote in India in 1985. I was followed by a old woman, desperate for my money, which she knew I must have because I was clearly American. I went into a shop to escape her, but she waited for me for a half hour and then followed me for more than a mile. I don't remember if I gave in to the impulse to give to her (I was advised not to), but it had such an impact on me that I wrote this song, from her point of view:

Don't turn your eyes from me
Don't turn away
I see the wealth you hide within
Share it, I pray
You don't have to squeeze my hand
You know I am poor
I only want a little I don't
Ask you for more
My clothes tattered, my flesh torn
Flies fill my face
You reason I'm unworthy of you
I need your grace
Your wealth abounds and begs release
Please heal my sore
Your pockets full yet sewn with greed
Do you need it more?

Don't give me pictures from your camera
Movies nor magazines
You have the life I need to live
Give me bread, don't give me jeans
You turn away from my sadness
But what would Jesus do?
Would he give me dust and say "Go away"?
Or heal me and say, "Be true"?

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