Always, Without Fail
On the brick terrace
a few tables set out for coffee
and on a lazy July afternoon
when all the tourists are still
at the beach
there is time for an espresso
and a look at the slow parade of
the equally unambitious.
But always, without fail
there are sparrows patrolling the bricks,
hopping and peering and retrieving
even the smallest crumb.
It is only when I sit there and see them
and realize I have not remembered
them, not even have I brought a small
crust of bread from the house
or asked the shop owner for a little
or thought for a few seconds only of
those who are in their smallness
their meager, tiny list of wants,
the bell ringers for the least among us;
only then will a prayer leap from
my lips and I will remember that
I have an obligation.
What use is a life entangled only
with itself, without concern for
those with whom I walk and share the day.
How could they not be first in my thoughts?
Inshallah, a hand will always
carry something for the sparrows.
PBSweeney July 2006