They work together, in pairs.
They walk together, in pairs.
Well-spoken, well-dressed, they reek of middle-class;
but, in a street like this, such people will not pass.
This street of drug-dealers;
this street of working poor.
This street of outcast mattresses,
and splintered frames on doors.
They want to save souls, to spread Jehovah’s word;
but in a street like this, it is unlikely to be heard.
In this street of rotting refuse, rank with dog turds,
the word of Jehovah is unlikely to be heard.
They have high aspirations,
leather satchels, shiny shoes.
But they sink, in this street,
in the rivers of booze.
The souls of people here
are unwilling to be stirred
by these witnesses of Jehovah,
spreading the word.
In this street of shattered dreams,
harsh debts are incurred.
No-one speaks of salvation;
such visions are blurred,
and the needs of brute existence
cannot be deferred.
These middle-class missionaries, in immaculate attire;
their expressions solemn, their minds afire.
Inspired by their mission, they will not be deterred;
but the souls of people here are unwilling to be stirred
by these witnesses of Jehovah, spreading the word.
I have always been intrigued, yet repelled, by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Whenever I see them, moving slowly, methodically, inexorably down my street, my first response is irritation at the nuisance factor of these people, knocking on your door when you have no inclination to speak to them. I instinctively decide to avoid answering the door, at all costs. But my next response is one of fascination, and I always end up cautiously observing their movements from my bedroom window, until they have disappeared from view. I suppose I am reluctantly impressed by their dogged determination to carry out their task; but I must admit to breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they disappear. I also admit to using “poetic licence” to exaggerate the description of the street in the poem. The real street involved – my street – is not quite as sordid as it is depicted here!