A Pair of Shoes
Based on a true story.
'Twas years ago, I ran a store
Employed a staff of fifty-four;
And every week those reps would call,
All sizes they, both short and tall.
Most of the reps could not care less
They smoked and talked, and I confess,
Was glad to see them go their way,
With orders small, I'm pleased to say.
One rep was different from the rest,
His line was polish, sold with zest;
He was small and quiet, big glasses wore,
And smelled of polish to be sure.
Though insignificant himself was he,
Always neatly dressed he'd be,
And if one did not notice him,
You'd spot his shoes, 'cos never dim.
Remember his name I could never do,
So to me it was 'Mr Ronuk' who
Each month would bring his order book,
And through my stock of polish look.
His shoes ever very bright were they,
Through summer's sun, and winter's grey.
I'd wonder how he made them gleam,
'Till one wet day he told his dream.
'Twas winter, slush was all around,
At our glass shop door I heard a sound,
Looked up and standing there outside,
Saw Ronuk stoop as a cloth he plied.
Inside, stood there with shoes so clean,
I asked him then, what did it mean?
Why crucial his shoes no blemish or spot,
When most reps cared not one tittle or jot?
Said he, 'The tale is rather long,
Though if you've time, I'll sing my song.'
Then into my office I him then led,
And bade him sit: 'Please begin,' I said.
'When I was five,' Mr Ronuk told me,
'In Norwich we lived, as poor as could be.
They sent me to school with feet all bare,
No money for shoes for me to wear.
'I, only barefooted boy in the room,
Saw the others with shoes — hoped I'd get some soon.
But when I was ten, still had none to wear,
Came the snow and the frost, I was filled with despair.
'And the boys who had shoes, they cared for them not,
Let them scuff on the ground, and no polish they got.
How I envied those boys, but 'twas to no avail
For I still walked barefooted through snow and through hail.
'One night I dreamt that I saw standing there,
An angel who smiled; his hands held a pair
Of lovely black shoes so shiny and bright,
"They're for me, of course," I thought with delight.
'Said the angel, "My son, how will you these win?"
I thought for a spell, and then I told him,
"Once I've shoes on my feet, I promise and swear,
They'll be shiny and bright whene'er I them wear."
'But when I awoke, of shoes there were none,
And I cried in my pillow, thinking how I'd been done.
But then at our school, much later that day
Teacher said I was wanted, to come straight away.
'In our headmaster's study there waiting for me,
Stood a Sally Ann officer; smiling, said he
"These shoes you can try, and there's socks inside there,
If they fit they are yours, and you can have them to wear!"
'That is my story, and so you know now,
Whatever the weather I stick to my trow.'