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Cold Soup from a Can

I was alone on a bluff high above pacific coastland
watching waves crash onto rocks and the sand.
I was alone on a bluff pondering changes that's been done
by the ocean's beating, its eternal repetition.
It felt like I was the first to see all that was around me,
having no one there, no civilization to hold me.
It felt like I was the first to receive this gift from heaven,
thinking this prize, no one has yet been given.

But I digress for I hadn't planned on talking
about the waves, the coast, and all that I see.
I had planned on discussing an individual
that, on this bluff alone, sat next to me.
He asked if I minded having him there, and
from his facial expression many people did.
I noticed the odor, the soiled clothes he wore,
yet what happened later, surely unexpected.

He opened a can of chicken noodle soup.
Then, from his bag of whatever may be
pulled out a knife, some bread, some butter,
cut a slice, then offered it to me.

As I watched him carefully butter his bread
he asked where I was from, experiences I've had.
Yet, all I've done paled in comparison
as I asked, "Where're you from? Where've you been?"

To look at him, to imagine such strife,
I would not understand, him with a home, a normal life.
But to hear him speak with such a clear head
I couldn't understand, him on the street, barely fed.

I now realize the mistake I made
of assuming so much, and expecting so little.
Oh, how difficult it was for me to see
past the external, to his inner beauty.

As the sun painted oranges and reds
he paused, looked at me, smiled, and said,
"Young man, this must be your lucky day
for it's not often I see the dolphins play."
What he said, took me a moment to realize,
I looked out a hundred yards, squinted my eyes;
there they were, in pairs, maybe twenty of them,
dancing across the ocean, in perfect unison.

Had this fellow not come to this special place,
had I not agreed to share my quiet space,
my visit to the coast would not be complete
for I needed to see this dolphin treat.

Finally, after sitting in a blissful silence,
he told me the sunsets haven't changed, years ago since.
We sat together and shared a long moment
Then I reluctantly said goodbye.

Now, and every day since, I sadly shake my head...
What other things could I have done, could I have said?
It bothers me, I'll never see him again.
Now it's too late...I should've thanked him then.

I was alone on a bluff high above the pacific coast,
of all my travels that summer, I remember this the most.
Funny, the one person we often choose to ignore
provided that special memory we can only hope for.
It's funny, the one person most choose not to see
was the one person most wonderful to me.

I was alone on a bluff high above an ocean span...
Why did I leave him there with only cold soup from a can?

Rob Daugherty


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