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I’m forwarding a poem that has always stayed with me. Written by a friend of my father’s, I read it when I was 12 years old. It holds as true today as it did when it was written almost 70 years ago — and I hope we all go about our days remembering the man in the rain.

Peace and Friendship,

John Burton

The Man in the Rain
Mike Quin (1948)

You go to work and you go there knowing
Some guy don’t know where he’s going;
Some guy wanders in the rain
Hungry in stomach and in brain.

You work all day, you work all week;
Take it rebellious or take it meek;
But take it you do and your laboring brain
Never forgets the guy in the rain.

The guy in the rain can hypnotize
With sick, humiliated eyes,
And every hour, awake, asleep,
He herds your thoughts like timid sheep.

The hours are long. The pay is small.
The guy in the rain has nothing at all.
Stand up, demand, protest, complain?
You too might wander in the rain.

The man in the rain is gaunt and lean;
He begs with apologetic mien.
He was clubbed to his knees ’til he learned to crawl,
And his moaning makes coward of us all.

As long as he crawls, we’ll crawl the same;
As long as he’s humble, we’ll share his shame.
There will be no peace for body or brain
As long as that man is out in the rain.

Turn out more work! Keep up the pace!
Or the man in the rain might take your place.
The price of your pride, if you’re indiscreet,
May be lonely months in tie city street.

Those blood shot eyes, that hungry look,
Haunt you like the ghost in a book.
Everything cowardly rises to meet
The gaze of the hungry man in the street.

He begs for dimes with furtive shame,
As if he were himself to blame.
Ye give, or not, then flee his face;
For we might some day take his place.

The shackles and the whip are gone
But still the slaves are driven on.
The fear of poverty and disgrace
Is lashing us on at a sharper pace.

The fear of shame, of want, of pain;
The fear of the lonely man in the rain,
Is making slaves in a cowardly block
Of men of good rebellious stock.

One hundred million men and their wives
Living cheated, hamstrung lives.
When, God Almighty, will they run
From the shadow of fear and into the sun?

When will they learn that peace and ease
Cannot be reached on hands and knees?
No man on earth will ever find
Peace while poverty haunts his mind.

No man can crawl to Paradise
Down avenues of hungry eyes.
There will be no peace for body or brain
As long as that man is out in the rain.