SEASONS OF A STREET-CORNER MAN
Early morning finds me already on my corner– and I do not stroll away. I cling to my lamp-post as tightly as
some men cleave to their wives and girlfriends or even to their wallets.
How brightly the sun shines on the windows in spring! I love the play of light on sides of buildings– how it
bathes cab and bus and car– how it frames the face of a lovely woman in passing – fresh and– perhaps– still
slightly damp from her bath! A bit over-dressed on her way to work – or to meet a man! If I desire to know you
at this moment, my dear, it is because I wish to glimpse and remember in you all the women I’ve ever loved.
Ah, why did we part, my sweet?
In summer one recalls childhood– indolent summer mornings out of school, buzz of insects in a park across the
road– I love the look of the corner café on a summer day– the smell of brewing coffee is a message carried on the warm air.
Once, I detected the aroma of someone roasting peanuts!
The Autumn brings a cool breeze and cleansing wind to the street– sweeps away dirt, the debris of yesterday’s
passing shoes– cancels the memory of old failures, of sadness and death– and brings with it the melancholy
yearning that is the best and worst of life itself.
In Fall we remember the fallen– and praise God that our time’s not yet come round– we have still before us this
morning, this noon– the prospect of a fine autumn evening.
Oh but winter–what a terrible season! Curbs covered with snow and ice– windswept blocks stretching out street
after street under a leaden sky– then I wish only to hibernate! No, not a likeable season to me– how could it be?–
the rain and cold drive me inside, contact of self-to -self begins.
I don’t wish to visit myself– if I could leave town without my knowing, I’d do so at once! I would only come
back when I was certain I was gone!
Sometimes, along the street– in season and out– rises before me one of those dirty shambling homeless creatures
that society wishes to forget. I may know him or not– but if I dared look at him– into his eyes– I might see–
what’s this?– my own reflection! If he spoke to me, the earth itself would crack open before I could answer– so,
I lower my head and let him go by me silently.
by Jack Peachum