Τετάρτη, 4 Μαΐου 2011

The rich and the poor Lazarus






Poverty and Wealth by William Powell Frith, 1888




The rich Lazarus

I am Lazarus.
I’m 27, tall, slim,
handsome,
with long blond hair
and blue eyes.
I’ve always enjoyed life.
When I invite friends
we always have a good time
with good food and excellent wine.
I detest all kinds of work.
Whenever I purchase anything,
it is for pure pleasure.
I have no enemies.
I prefer pleasant relationships
to complex ones.
I’m just happy to be myself
and I’d never exchange
my fate for another.
Sometimes, before I get to sleep,
I enjoy lying in bed
and reflecting.
But I’m not a philosopher
so I never reach a conclusion.
Then I comfortably
surrender to sleep
just like one who surrenders
to the world as it is.

Of course, I do realize
there is misery around me
but I accept it
just like one who accepts
stormy weather
in the shelter of a warm home.
Alas!
There are so many
homeless out there
who make me wonder
what I would do,
if I were in their place.
I immediately answer myself
that I would never be
in their shoes.
No way!
It’s just a nightmare.
By the way,
I would like to mention
a trifle coincidence
that has been bothering me
for a while now.

As I said,
my name is Lazarus.
Now, at my doorsteps
there’s a beggar
whose name is also Lazarus.
He’s about the same age as me.
He’s also tall and blond
and he might have been handsome, too
if he were luckier.
He must have been starving for ages.
He’s skinny and filthy
and his complexion is full of wounds.
Sometimes I throw him
the leftovers of my dinner table.
I pity him, you see.
But he also disgusts me.
He’s so miserable.
Only the dogs that gather
around him to share his food
don’t seem to get disgusted.
They just lick his wounds
and he speaks to them
as he feeds them.
I don’t know what to
think and how to feel about him.
Why was he born to suffer
while I was born to enjoy?
Anyway, life is life.
There’s nothing common
between us two
except for the name.
There’s a huge abyss between us
which is bound to widen
as time goes by
because he gets poorer
and more ill all the time
while I’m getting richer
and happier.

My friends have been asking me
why I keep him
at my doorstep.
They can’t stand the sight of him.
neither his smell…
My girlfriends have to
keep their garments away from
him and his dogs
when they cross my threshold.
But I let him lie there.
I have the strange feeling
he is soon going to die.
Why, on Earth,
has he chosen my doorsteps
to die on?

The poor Lazarus
I’m called Lazarus.
All I’ve ever been able to recall
from my childhood
is the sun glittering on the leaves
of an apricot tree.
I’ve always been poor but healthy.
Ever since my childhood
it has been raining.
Raindrops have been falling
like a curse on me.
It’s soaked me to the bone.
It’s swept away my life,
my home, even my skin.
My bones have been aching so
that I’ve dropped half dead
in front of this house.
Just like a puppet
whose strings were suddenly cut.
Inside the house there’s always fun
but music doesn’t seem to
make me happy any longer
I have been thrown food to survive
and the lord of the house
has been watching me eat.
I feel it satisfies him when I eat.
But I’m afraid I won’t be able to
comfort him for much longer.
I’m seriously ill and I’m about to die.
Let him be satisfied
he’s kept me here till the end.
I might also be leaving him
to relieve him from my burden.
He won’t have to cast me away.








The rich Lazarus


Who would have guessed
that I died along with
the poor Lazarus this spring!
That was far beyond my expectations…
Neither had I ever expected
to find myself in a place like this.
So unpleasant, quite unlike my place!
Here it stinks of burning rubber.
Somebody has been throwing tinder sticks
to keep this fire burning eternally.
I’ve been waiting for someone
to explain to me
why I have come to Hell.
I’ve never killed or robbed anyone.
I still can’t believe that
indifference is the greatest sin.



The poor Lazarus

My complexion is now clean and smooth.
I’ve been lying in the shadow of an apricot tree.
It feels as if I had never left this place.

I’m sure now I’ve always been a happy man!

The rich Lazarus

I have started to realize
that I am being punished
for the ease with which
I used to fall asleep.
Back on earth
I have five siblings;
They’re called ………..
They’ve been enjoying
comfort and luxury
without ever suspecting
that nothing is
to be taken for granted.
Totally unaware of the fact that
Life does not belong to them.

I’ve been praying to Lord
and begging dear Lazarus
to give them a chance of
seeing and feeling
before it is too late…
Before their last breath is taken,
before their names are forgotten,
before ‘the End’ is written
in their books by the angels,
before the game is over
and while they’re still lying
in their warm beds
in total cosiness and apathy,
I beg you, LORD,
batter their hearts!

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