Prompt #77 “Quotes by Oscar Wilde” – Not An Easy Life.


I have chosen this quote as the basis of my contribution:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

It’s not an easy life.

It never was.

It never will be.

From my point of view there was nothing much I could do about it. Its way past fault finding, pointing fingers all that. It’s my lot in life.

You might say I am a pretty articulate guy to be able state all this. Well I may have lived a life in the gutter but I’ve had a lot of time to read.

You may blame my parents, they said to stay in school but I didn’t. I never saw any point in going to a place where in my opinion they told their own version of things, they starved you of the truth for fear it might lead to insurrection, god forbid you had an opinion.

So I didn’t go.

I dropped out.

Walked the streets, lived many a day in the library.

Surrounded myself with as much reading as I could.

Some was crap.

Some breath taking.

Some I re read.

History I read over and over.

I believe we have a lot to answer for.

When you live on the streets, as limiting as it is, you do find a truth and an honesty in the people you mix with.

There are some highly intelligent people out there, living in shelters, living under bridges, some just living.

So you spend a lot of time listening to stories, stories of hardship, bad luck, injustice, ridicule, desperation, the tales of people who like you and me set out to eat and breathe every day.

It’s not an easy life

It never was

It never will be.

But I’m thankful



An educated man

No degrees, no doctorates

But with insight

Human condition and all that.

I understand why, but

Don’t understand why you repeat

The crap of the past over and over.

My home is the world, the streets, the towns of a country so vast I once contemplated walking way round the coastline. I made it about ten days. Futile I thought, welfare will only take me so far and then what?

So here I lie, a nobody to most, a somebody to a few,

The sky is my ceiling,

So if you wander by,

See me

Stop a moment,

Exchange a few words

Discuss an idea or two.

I’m never short of a word

If you are lucky

And it’s a good night

Stars out in their wondrous self

I’ll shimmy over a spot,

Be rapturous

If just for a moment.

It’s not an easy life.

It never was.

It never will be.

Written for:

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29 Responses to Prompt #77 “Quotes by Oscar Wilde” – Not An Easy Life.

  1. “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” I also thought of this quote when I read your poem. This is a very moving piece Michael. I must admit I agree that some of what we learn in schools is propaganda and they do attempt to discipline the dissension out of us, to make us complacent with authority even when they authority is unjust. History is written through the eyes of the victor so we never get the full picture but living on the streets I imagine you get a much more completely picture of society’s state. Excellent job!

  2. Education is not only confined to within walls. Well written Michael.

  3. Lyn says:

    Sit in straight rows. Feet flat on floor. Eyes 12 inches from the page (we even had to measure it with a ruler). Pencil/pen in right hand (yeah like that’s going to happen with me). ‘But my Dad said…’
    ‘Don’t be insolent. Stand in the corner.’ Ahh yes, the joys of old school ways.

    • The feet flat on the floor used to get me. I could never figure how you did that as i took it literally. Yes rigid order and discipline. Thanks Lyn. Hope you had a good weekend.

  4. This is wonderful, Michael. Reminded me of Camazotz in “A Wrinkle in Time.” We can be such sheep.

  5. Pat says:

    This is such an interesting point of view and response to the prompt. I really enjoyed the narrator’s point of view – and yes, nothing is ever what it truly seems – and in this case, people shouldn’t be judged by their appearances and situations. Hell, I’ve known people with PhDs that were literally, unfortunately, and most ungracious I, dumber than 2x4s. You just never know in life.

    Great reading this Michael 🙂

  6. phylor says:

    “We don’t need no education
    We don’t need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom
    Teachers leave them kids alone
    Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
    All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”

    Great perspective and use of quote. I hope to stop by on a night when the starscape fills the cosmos. I think we could have a word of two.

    • Thanks phylor, that would be a very pleasant exchange I am sure.
      Having taught for many years I have learnt that intelligence manifests itself in so many ways. Some excel in one or two areas, like Maths and Science but there are few exceptional ones who excel in all areas and I have known a few of those as well.

      • phylor says:

        The students I enjoyed teaching were those who were the first in their families to go to university. They wanted to learn, and each did so to their ability. I taught history, and several students showed great promise.
        But that these students would work 2 jobs just to learn to me is intelligence too.

      • i agree completely. That sense of motivation and commitment is always to be acknowledged and encouraged.

  7. phylor says:

    PS credit for the song: Part II, The Wall, Pink Floyd

  8. JackieP says:

    I hated school. Just hated it. I was at the top of my class, but didn’t mean I liked it. They taught us crap. They tried to teach us bits and pieces and when I would question things they would shut me up. Read folks. Read as much as you can and teach yourself the truths. Great writing Michael. I enjoyed it a lot as I usually do.

  9. C.C. says:

    Sounds like your narrator understood well the wisdom in Mark Twain’s quote, ““I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

  10. Brilliant Michael!! 🙂 🙂

  11. Bastet says:

    Brilliant write —- and there isn’t much I can really add, seems everyone has covered so much ground … but I read this as though it were a ballad … with an old pan-handler, kind of like a old wandering hermit in some middle age story, who’s chosen to live his life – hard surely but free and I really can’t tell you why. I love the poem.

  12. What a stunning write, so profound and true. I felt like you were talking to just “me” and I saw the spot you were ready to shimmy on over to allow me a seat and chat. Growing up as a teenager there was this older man who walked the streets by night and we never knew where he slept inthe daytime. In a small town, these things were hidden. But we loved having intelligent and philosophical discussions with him. As for eduation, my grandmother never went higher than Grade 3 and read medical books, the newspaper religiously every day almost as seriously as her prayer book. Self-taught midwife, amazing woman, smarter than any degree could live up to.

    • Thank you Cheryl-Lynn it pleases me that you were able to relate to this tale. Often I have found the ‘uneducated’ are the most intelligent people you come across in life, self educated and so knowledgeable about life. Wonderful comment, thank you.

  13. Reblogged this on Stop the Stigma with Cheryl-Lynn and commented:
    Too often we misjudge many homeless people who are too often hard on their luck, may suffer mental illnesses and some just choose to no longer take part in society for their own valid reasons. A wonderful free verse written to an Oscar Wilde quote: ““We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.””

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