Poem | Maria Van Beuren | The man in the threadbare suit

Maria has a background in Science and the Classics. Her poems are above dailiness looking at the huge pathos which we share. In this poem it presents a social order, and within that our common humanity. What I like best is when big ideas don’t need to showboat; best said with the simplest language concealing the deepest thought. If any testament is true in this world, this poem is. -Grace Cavalieri

 

The man in the threadbare suit

The man in the threadbare suit, lost in the city,
still has a human face.
The spoiled gangs who play in the road
all have a human face.

A starving child, swaying to hunger’s tune,
still has a human face.
The glutton who overfills his plate
still has a human face.

The cancer patient, newly bald,
turns her mirror
to study her human face.
On Rushmore, the wind caresses a rock
carved as a human face.

Parents who greet a newborn child
glory in his human face.
Any soldier, dying anywhere this day,
still has a human face.

The best, the worst--the world’s on offer--
all have a human face.

 

Maria van Beuren lives at Toad Hall in New Hampshire, where she welcomes writers and artists all year for retreats. The Toad Hall imprint, Toad Hall Press, has also published major poets’ works. Maria spends most of her time editing medical and scientific books, indexing books and journals, and teaching creative writing to middle schoolers. In her spare time she contemplates training her dogs, weeding her garden, and writing poetry. She accomplishes lots more contemplating than actual doing, some of which may be explained by her fondness for cheap champagne and reading mystery novels.