The old wooden shoe shine stand is
aged bare, unpainted wood stained
with the rouge of shoe polish.
A dilapidated metal folding chair
in front cradling a cracked vinyl seat.
The foot rests of the stand used,
worn down, the metal beginning to rust.
And still, people come to the site
pausing, staring, reaching out to touch
the foot rest, the stains, inhaling the scent.
A reverence for the sustenance once
gained from this place, this shrine.
No one sits in the metal chair or
The wooden shoe shine stand.
No one mounts the footrests.
It is one of life’s testaments, a lesson
of hope, of worth, kindness, smiles.
For sixty years thousands of shoes
rested on the metal risers.
Each received philosophy, truth,
wisdom, gentle hands, compassion.
The mind cries to hear the slap of the rag,
the smell of shoe polish, the rhythm.
The humming of an accepting soul
a lullaby to the pains of life, a caring.
The great, the talented, teachers,
doctors, laborers, criminals were here.
Now something is missing, out of sync,
something worthwhile gone from this niche.
When Shoe Shine Moses died tears were shed
and the world shuddered on its axis.
The value of a human cannot be counted
by their position or wealth or education.
For Moses, the value was his humanity,
his quiet dignity, his perseverance to his
craft, sixty years working at others feet.
Daily changing lives with his hands, his heart,
his smile, his soul, a shoulder to cry on.
Encouragement, wisdom from a knowing man,
given to all who came seeking solace, and a shine.
Copyright: 2010, Donald Harbour