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Why can't we Understand?

by Lori Blair

Well I've seen them on the streets

carrying their signs, "Will work for food"

and I tried to meet their gaze

while I drove my car straight on by

cuz it isn't something I can understand

but while I passed on by I knew

it's so unfair that so few knew

what it's like to be without while most go home

with so much food

and like some fool, I knew

I can't recognize their frowns

but how I wish I could

cuz it isn't something I understood

but how I cried I wish I could

cuz we are whole sums

no matter how many souls do good

cuz so few do bad

help me to understand

help me to understand

And I've heard it on the news

so many jobless that can't find work

and so many have cried for justness

it's all over the tv and papers

but it isn't anything most can relate

but I can cuz I cry for the unfairness

cuz what I see so few do

they don't understand why God has vacated those

but not their own

and I cry all day and night

I can't recognize their frowns

but how I wish I could

cuz it isn't something I had understood

but how I wish I could

cuz we are whole sums

no matter how many souls do good

cuz so few do bad

then why do they lose?

then why do we lose?

I drive by them all this day

and see their signs to work for food

but my son knows from the tv

he heard it's for booze and not for food

but this man had his kid standing with him

and then he felt as if he was beside them too

and wondered why it's so unfair cuz so few knew

what it's like to be without while most go home

with so much food

and he cried all day and night

cuz he can't recognize their frowns

but how he wished he could

cuz it isn't something he had understood

but how, oh how, he wished he could

cuz we are whole sums

no matter how many souls do good

cuz so few do bad

and even then

and even then

why do they lose?

why do we lose?

while so many go home

with so much food?

why can't we all win

cuz that's not a sin?

and it's not a sin

it's not a sin to wish it'd end!


Posted on 11/27/2011
Copyright © 2021 Lori Blair

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Alison McKenzie on 11/27/11 at 08:34 AM

It can be so difficult to put yourself in someone else's place, to know what they know, to understand the data they are using to make their decisions, because we've never had to use exactly the same data that they are using. But I believe this (and I don't use the word "believe" lightly): everyone makes the best decisions they can given the data they have available. Anyway, lots of compassion in this piece, Lori. Excellent encouragements.

Posted by George Hoerner on 11/27/11 at 09:37 PM

You are correct when you say 'so few do bad'. The problem is that some people get into positions of power and when they 'do bad' it hurts a lot more people. Murder or theft are bad but they usually hurt a few people. When a banker steals or a general murders then a lot of people get hurt when it doesn't have to happen. But I like the way you approach things, trying to understand when so few even attempt that.

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 11/27/11 at 09:40 PM

...lori, hurtful as conscience would/could be...one time medaughter Page [at 8 then] saw a man standing at a corner "begging" and said, "Dad, that's so sad!" and we were the haves and she noticed a have-not...broke meheart and simultaneously helped to mend it--she taught me that day...i began to see.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/28/11 at 04:02 AM

It's really hard to know who really need and who just want. You've captured the dilemma of what we see around us right now, and the discussion with your son adds to your observations. Thank you, Lori. I really liked the phrase "cuz we are whole sums".

Posted by JJ Johnson on 11/28/11 at 07:24 PM

Your poem is so powerful. Great job on a matter of great importance. You see what many close their eyes to. Every month when it comes time for the rent to be paid, I worry that it may be the month I become homeless. Not having a job is harmful in so many ways. Self-esteem is everything and it's so hard to feel good about life when the most basic needs are not being met and a job is just a wsih without the birthday cake. I don't want to become a man on the street with a sign, asking for money or a job just to get some food. I often give my pocket change to homeless people, and I wonder what it can do for them that it isn't doing for me. I don't have much and giving it away just makes it harder for me, but sometimes I feel I can help them make it one more day. Last night 60 Minutes did a piece on homeless kids, living in a truck but still trying to survive and go to school. And they had such positive attitudes, not letting their situation defeat them. I wish I had their energy and attitude. It can get so depressing when you apply for job after job and no one even calls you back. And I feel lucky to have more than they do, a home, not much of a home, but a roof over my head and some food in my cupboards. jj

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 11/29/11 at 02:27 PM

this is a marvelously constructed and rhythmic anthem to the Have and Have Not. for me it is a Via Dolorosa, the gauntlet of which one does not exit, unscathed.

Posted by Joe Cramer on 11/29/11 at 11:41 PM

... excellent.....

Posted by Ronald A Pavellas on 11/30/11 at 02:28 AM

reminds me of stories of The Great Depression I heard from my father who took his family through it at a young age. My mother's brother, uncle Harry, too. It scarred them but strengthened them. The family was never so tight as it was during the hard times. They seem to be here again. A very heartfelt poem, Lori.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 12/01/11 at 06:14 PM

Phil nails it: "Via Dolorosa" so aptly captures the feeling I have as I read your poem. The sadness - the suffering. I see and hear between your lines a big beautiful heart and rejoice that your child has you to guide him and hold his hand. Blessings, Lori. And thanks.

Posted by Jody Pratt on 12/25/11 at 02:08 AM

We live in a world built on a system that can not give equally, but instead forces the masses to work and die for the few. It is unfortunate that everyone in the world is trapped in this system.

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