London’s such a lonely place -
bleak and cold and grey,
Filled with broken derelicts -
sinking day by day.
Unobservesd, they’re drifting
out of human ken:
Who knows or cares that once these wrecks
were human, feeling men?
Who knows or cares what pain they feel:
the gnawing wretchedness
Of hunger’s bony clutching hand
endured beyond distress?
Who knows or cares when they are gone,
who mourns when they are dead or
bows uncovered head...
See yon aged toothless crone -
face lined with bitter pain,
Her rags, they’re clutched in yellow claw
about her withered frame,
The flaming roses at her feet
Seem to taunt and mock her with
her long-lost youthfulness.
Persistent ‘midst the traffic’s din
a bitter, lonely cry:
“Pretty bright red roses - sir,
buy my roses! Buy!”
But who among the hurrying throng
stops for such as she,
Contemptuously they hurry past
intent on “home” and “tea”!
Poor starving soul - she’s one of many
forsaken, just as she;
Youth springing onward, strong and sure,
will not encumbered be
By helpless age and feeble limbs -
Forgetting soon that they
Will someday fail in eager strength
and pass into decay.
[Editor’s note: The poem was included at the end of the transcription of the Winnipeg Free Press letter of January 10, 1941]