An Ode to the unknown cobbler

Lit by the evening’s dying light,
In our little town, by the cross-road,
Gnarled fingers working his plight
Was a cobbler of old.


He plied his trade from his ramshackle store,

Working among the local folk,
He did not have many possessions; just the clothes he wore,
A few tools, and a tattered long cloak.


No one in the village knew his name,
And though you could tell he was old,
No one knew from whence he came,
He kept to himself; no one knew of his fold.


It was plain that he took pride in his profession;
His work was far from ordinary.
When old shoes and boots received his attention,
They were quickly restored to their former glory.


And so it would have come to pass that,
This old cobbler and his trade unsung,
Would have faded into history right where he sat,
Except for a chance event un-sprung.


In the dying rays of the fading light,
He saw a boy, stumbling and falling,
Although he could not see clearly, due to his fading sight,
He could tell the lad was clearly struggling.


The lad tottered and fell,
By the road’s edge where the tall grass grew,
The cobbler watched; he could not tell,
If the lad was going to get up and continue.


He put down the piece he was was repairing,
and made his way to the lad.
A pitcher of water, in hand for reviving,
His trusty crutch by his side, and his old cushion pad.


When he got there, beside the overgrown ditch
He could tell the lad was clearly ill,
His forehead was burning to the touch
His eyelids fluttered, and he would not keep still.


The old man raised up the lad on to his frail back,
The boy clung to him like a limpet on a rock.
The man wanted to make his way back there before dark,
Or it would be too difficult to walk.


Step by step, laboriously the old man strived,
Inching closer with each step to his shack.
His body screamed from the effort, his bones ached,
Yet, he plodded on with the load on his back.


Once there, he lay the boy down unawoken,
Struggling as he was through the ordeal.
He covered the boy unspoken,
And went to prepare his evening meal.


On the dawn of the fourth day, the fever broke,
The days in between were uneventful by them-self
From his feverish sleep the lad awoke,
And the cobbler helped the boy raise himself.


They spoke to each other, and the cobbler knew more about the boy.
He was an orphan, with no possession except the earth and the sky.
Kindred spirit thought the cobbler, perhaps even with some joy,
For providence had delivered him someone just like him, by and by.


As the days passed, the boy learned the trade,
From simple mending to matters more elaborate,
Learning quickly under the cobbler’s tutelage,
The student as good as his teacher, and just as accurate.


Years passed quickly, for the old man and the lad,
His frail health got worse, and soon he could not do much,
A young man now, grown up from the lad,
Carried on the work of the cobbler, mending and such.


On his death bed, the cobbler called out to the lad,
“Lad, you are like a son, because you are so”,
“I have not sought much or wanted anything” he said,
“Yet, in my autumn days you have given me much more”.


To which the young lad smiled,
“Sir, you saved me, clothed me and fed me”,
“You have been mother and father to me”, he said
“I owe you my trade, my life and everything else”.


The work of divine providence, who are we to belittle,
The cobbler; penniless as he was, yet so willing to share,
Clearly, the least hesitant to give are those that have little,
And those that have plenty, still hunger for more.


This poem is about: 
Our world


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