Slouched, in dumpster debris and cigarette butts,

A brooding man is whistling the soothing tune of his Mother’s cradlesong

In breaths mournful and long drawn, clinging to an empty flask in hand.


Bloodshot eyes, mellow in ashtray dust, oblivious to who’s listening

He’s whistling, couched between his broken-wheeled cart of worldly goods

And a penniless tin can crusted in red-brown rust demeaning

His worth again, with its measly pittance gathered for the day.

It’s not enough to pay for lunch and so he sulks hunched

In his makeshift tatters grafted in off-color patches

Wearing them on his ragged coat – its stitches are loose and unsewn.


He’s bare fisted, clad as ragtag, street curb loitering, nameless nomad,

He’s a no man in bearded gruff who sleeps rough

In boneyards of decaying dreams, underneath newspapers

Until the train engine steams.


Hurling the meager coin morsels, he raved and cursed with the ranting of a drunkard

Furious with the cold world overrun with penny-pinchers

And dollar-clenchers remiss to give, but paused to see his tortured face

With its chapped lips, its stubble scruff

And detached eyes, furrow-encased, watching him huff through the fogged

And smudged tarnish of the emptied tin can bottom


Yet, he began to whistle again, to the tune of his Mother’s cradlesong

In earnest of nostalgic wish as the memories got to him – the why and when

Of things that went wrong, turning for the worst, slumping into the slums

Among the dregs of beggars and bums where misery loves keeping company

With those who binge, living on the fringe that poverty doles.


As he’s whistling still, he dredges up lost hopes in his soul

That revisit troubling chills and he’s wanting for that warm touch

Of his Mother’s hand as she sang,

But he cannot understand why her lullaby’s words make escape

And although the melody lingers on that he whistles to,

Tears grew to precipitate at the thought

That they fell through holes agape in his memory, alcohol-erased.


Too much these stirrings were, so in slurring, his vision a blur

He lunged for the swig of another brandy’s gulp full – the only buffer helpful

Against the sobriety of another setting Sun

But his flask dripped the last little bit of drink swilled and done.


He clamored to his good foot, hobbling, the other crippled

Wobbling, off kilter, he wept whistling to tune of his Mother’s cradlesong

And while headlong to the alehouse for one more rotgut’s stale douse

He collapsed from a heart stricken and overtaken

And his pale body was left forsaken until the city garbage was raked in


His obituary, ghostwritten, by whomever took the time for listening

To his whistling in tune of his Mother’s cradlesong,

Is to be sung along with the words he forgot as his story is told,

Unfolding the tragedy of his lot in life lived as a haunted soul.


© 2014. Asha Gowan. All Rights Reserved.

Published by

Asha Gowan

I am an aspiring poet, novelist, musician, visual artist, and a die hard jazz enthusiast (partial to writing). I did not have a choice in the matter as both of my parents are creative to the core. Van Gogh beautifully painted the artist's portrait with his words: "The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more artistic than to love others." I've made that ideal the primary catalyst for my work. Born as one of nature's esthetes, beauty is the goal of every song, every poem, every piece of art. Beauty that will touch the hearts and minds of others. I try to design my art to be healing and empathetic. I study and find intriguing people of all kinds, which informs a lot of my insights. I've drawn inspiration on the art of positivity, of spiritual uplifting from writers like Throeau, John Muir, Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman), the psalmist David, etc. Seeking a unique verve in my style, I make thorough investigations of all sorts of art and challenge myself to the hilt for the growth of my ingenuity. I am eager to share my musings with everyone here and wish to disseminate them. Thank you!