passerby

a_smile_in_the_rain_by_dannyst600_398Why do you divert your eyes?
You and I have naught to hide.
Honest truth, we’ve never met.
We are strangers as of yet.

And all I did was smile at you,
(couldn’t help my passing through),
and yet you looked away from me,
as though I were an enemy.

And so I went along my way,
but on my way I had to say,
the world would be a better place,
if you’d return my smiley face!

:)

Image: Google

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64 thoughts

    • Thank you, Kurt! To be honest, I worked all day on another poem, and it just wasn’t working! In my frustration, I went on a bike ride and smiled at a runner who looked away, and this is the result…

    • Thank you so much! I think many of us know that feeling… It’s a funny thing—human interaction… Funny because none of us seem to have mastered it! :)

      Also, I’m *so* sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your comment! It’s been a busy day… I really appreciate your feedback! :)

  1. Nice!
    It reminds me of once when I went for a walk on Capitol Hill in Seattle. I had just come up a hill and there was a little girl in front of me. I stopped to catch my breath and said hello as a woman appeared. I made polite conversation but the woman kept looking at her house and seemed to be judging the distance and thinking about whether she could make a run for it with the child in her arms. I think it says more about the USA than it does about me (I am not scary at all! :-))

    • Haha! Yes… It’s a sad state, this world we live in: It’s not just in the US that people are like that! Life has taught us that to be too trusting is to be naive; hence, we second-guess even our gut feelings—just to be safe. I’m sure that, deep down, that woman knew you were a nice person. ;)

  2. Yes, a bit of a slap in the face! Smiles are for free, give them!

    But then I wonder where is he from? Many cultures believe making eye contact with a stranger is disrespectful, so maybe that had something to do with it? Or maybe in his world, smiles don’t happen often – maybe he was highly suspicious of you, this strange girl who smiles at strangers ;-) But then again, that’s not reason to turn one down! Great poem Jessica!

    • Thanks, Lianne! I’m glad you brought up the cultural question. Obviously culture can play a role in how people interact, even within different parts of the same country… In this case, though, it was a white guy who’d probably born and bred in California, so I’m not cutting him any slack! Lol :)

      What’s it like in Africa? Do people make eye contact there?

    • I don’t know if that’s a good thing… Yes, but I see what you mean. It *is* sad that we don’t feel more comfortable smiling at and making eye contact with strangers. It *does* say a lot about this world, which is sad.

  3. Oh my! I absolutely LOVE this pointed yet subtle poem Jessica! Superbly written!

    When I first read this & glanced the image, my first thoughts were a Middle Eastern woman (Egypt?) passing a Middle Eastern man; she covered in the typical head-dress until I noticed the rain. But the content reminded me of a disturbing article I read this past weekend in the June 24th, 2013 USA Today newspaper: “Egyptian women taking a stand against harassment.” Though you are not at all speaking directly to sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, or sexual crimes, that “fear” of women or beautiful sensuality has been used to promote/enable hate-crimes, especially in that part of the world. To be fair it does still exist in western nations too. Nevertheless, your point is well made, though indirectly, that unfounded fears lead to so many negative behaviors & antiquated traditions.

    • Hmmm… What a great point you mention, which I really hadn’t thought of at all… I was simply looking for a picture of two people in a busy street passing each other and making eye contact, and this was the best I came up with. I liked it because the woman was smiling, and also liked it because it took one’s mind from the silly white girl who wrote this poem and applied it to a very different woman in a very different place… Which, yes, could thereby create startling implications…

      Sigh. Honestly, I’m so tired right now I can’t even think straight. I should probably just respond to this later, but, alas, tomorrow is another busy day! So you’ll have to forgive me if I leave my thoughts incomplete for now and accept my very sincere thanks for your thought-provoking comment! :)

      • What are you doing up at that hour Jessica!!? Are you out of your poetic mind!? I might forgive you. ;)

        Get some rest…both physically & mentally before you re-comment. :)

    • Okay, now to try to re-comment. The “fear” of women or beautiful sensuality definitely brings a different spin to the poem. It reminds me of Lianne’s comment (Africa Far and Wide) about possible cultural implications to why someone would avoid eye contact. I’m pretty sure I’d be very careful about who I looked at if I were traveling through Egypt or in that region of the world. (I just read a story about a young American man who was stabbed and killed at a protest in Egypt, actually.) Here in the States (in most areas), it’s likely that a person really *is* just being friendly if they smile at you on the street. In other countries, that isn’t always the case, and I for one certainly don’t want to invite trouble home with me!

      I do agree that this isn’t a new phenomenon and definitely plays a role in some of the antiquated traditions and behaviors that we see around the world today.

      • It’s a beautiful poem, I feel blessed and honoured to read it. Talent is an illusion, no one has it. All we have are experiences and urges.

      • You really think so, Aka? I might agree that “talent” is an overused word, but certainly different people are better suited to some things than others. My dad, for instance, loves poetry, but if you asked him to sit down and write one… But, thank you. I’m glad you liked it!

    • Thank you so much! I like the rhythm of this one, too. Somehow it just seemed to flow… Thank you so much for your comment. It means the world. :)

    • Thanks, Rachel! I’m glad you can! Makes me feel a little less crazy for the times I’ve felt that way… Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. Super poem, received this as I landed yesterday…the words and emotions resonate with the reader. For me, it took me back to similar feelings of the past, and all nice memories. Wonderful work!

  5. Lovely poem! Good work at capturing a fleeting everyday moment in time within a few lines. Though I must say the word “enemy” was a bit jarring and harsh to me. It’s the only negative word out of all the other words…maybe that’s why it’s there and it’s part of the poem. Or it’s just me. But I loved the poem a lot, I got a warm fuzzy feeling from it :)

    • Thank you, Mabel! I can see what you mean about the jarring effect of “enemy.” It does seem a bit harsh, but it worked well with the rhyme scheme… That’s the trouble with poetry sometimes, I guess: Sometimes you feel limited if you’re trying to stick to a beat and rhyme. But that’s actually why I like it, too. It forces me to play more with words to create the intended effect. By limiting me, it actually forces creativity. An interesting paradox… But I’m glad you liked the poem!

    • It seems a lot of us have felt this way at one point or another! I’m glad you continue to smile, though. It’s worth it! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! :)

    • Thank you! Yes, smiling is the best thing no matter where you are. Which, by the way, I must say I’m jealous of your ex-pat status in France. I love France, and my dad is actually there now, visiting. I think it’s time for me to get back there, too. :)

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