At The Head Of Every Street

The orphan is verily vainly aware
of a woman lurking in a shadow of despair
Parched from thirst with nothing to eat
Stones lie scattered at the head of the street

Bereaved, alone, and a face black as soot
Lay he there hungry, trampled underfoot
Born on stony ground, in thickets unsweet
His mother scorns payment at the head of the street

Like an ostrich in the wild her cruelty goes
to cut off a child in the midst of her throes
No home, no name, no water, no meat
In anguish he lies at the head of the street

“Away! Unclean!” from their mouth they pour
“A wanderer, a fugative, the son of a whore!”
Pursued until dawn in bloody feet
From his mother’s bosom at the head of the street

Is this the city? Of refuge and strength?
The perfection of beauty eternal at length?
The joy of the earth? A place so effete?
Lofty and high at the head of every street?