The cloak

He chose to stitch himself a cloak,
A cloak to show his inner self,
To wear his pain for all to see,
For all to understand his soul.
This man half way between his youth,
Not yet in antiquity,
Saw no more joy but only sorrow,
And knew that this was meant to be.
He took old sack cloth and old twine,
To form the body of his cloak.
He stitched it slowly, all the time,
Speaking his sorrow and his woe.
He took found feathers, cast aside,
By common birds, he did not mind,
That they were broken, dirty, torn.
Each one was washed with tears,
Each one was sewn into the frame,
These broken and discarded things,
Which represented all his hopes.
He took the them all to make his cloak,
The sparrow’s and the pigeon’s too,
The crow and seagull, cardinal,
They found their way onto his chest.
Around his neck he stitched the longest,
And with his needle drew in blood,
Upon the wings of geese and pigeons,
Words of sadness, words of love.
Until at last his cloak was finished,
And wearing it he felt at last,
A kind of peace and understanding,
That others now could see his past.
He walked into the open market,
To sit beneath the aged trees,
To watch the passing people, see them,
And how they would react to him.
Yet no one turned and no one noticed,
Not one turned to look at him,
All they saw were broken feathers,
And not the man who sat within.
Until at last as sun was setting,
And church bells broke the evening hush,
There came a child alone and wandering,
He saw the pile, the man still sitting,
Saw his pain and raised a scream,
That brought the towns men running over,
To see what had provoked such fear.
They saw at last the man who sat there, Saw his cloak and shuddering,
Demanded why he broke their happy,
Quiet lives with what he wore.
The priest was called and the doctor,
Both looked into his tired eyes,
With shaking heads they did not help him,
Instead demanded fees and smiled.
Then turning to the crowd they spoke,
They recommended that this man,
Be whipped out of the town he lived in,
And be sent to live in other lands.
Hard feel the blows, loud the curses,
The people did not want to see,
The work of their own hands and so,
They drove him out from city gate.
And where he died I could not tell.
Or if he lived beyond that day.
That man with cloak of broken feathers,
Driven from home, denied his peace.



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