My Fourth Year
By David Glenn Cox

Multnomah Falls

This is my fourth year with nothing,
I cry no tears.
I no longer believe in God, Jesus or Santa Claus,
I have no illusions.
I believe there is a creator and a plan for me,
I have felt his warmth.

I have walked five miles in the frozen snow,
I relish my life.
I have witnessed birds and trees, running waters and frozen grasses,
I received great joy.
I heard the big trucks rumbling and cars speeding as they pass me by,
I saw and felt everything, they saw only their destinations.

There is much to be said about having nothing,
If you can stay alive,
If you can breathe and feel and eat and sleep,
If the pain doesn’t catch up to you,
If the shadows don’t kill you,
If the loneliness doesn’t break you
If the cops don’t take you,

There is much to be learned in this university of the road,
That poor people are good.
That poor people come in all shapes and sizes, all colors, all persuasions,
That poor people will share.
That though I might have walked five miles in the snow, they have walked ten,
That still, they have listened to me and obliged me.
That these things too, they have learned in this university of adversity.

I once had many things but I knew nothing and now, I have nothing,
But I know many things.
I once cared for people only with my head,
But now it is with my heart.
I have tried to step lightly through the world and to cause no injury,
But sometimes, I have failed and seek forgiveness.
I have sometimes been insulted and abused,
But I have found forgiveness.

This is my fourth year with nothing,
I cry no tears,
I believe in everything, in song, in laughter, in somber tones.
I have no restrictions,
I live my life in the simple beauty and glorious thunder of a hot shower, a warm bed, and a cold drink, the intoxication of sweet grass or listening to the ocean’s cold roar.

I have spun straw into gold; though I’m older I’m not so old,
The warmth of a good woman, her hand to hold,
It is our greatest gift that won’t fit in our pockets nor leaden our load.
It frees our spirit and caresses our soul and with it, I have no need of silver and gold.

With it, life is to be relished,
With it, life is not so cold,
With it, life is beautiful,
With it, we can move on.