One sad shoe that someone has probably flung
out of a car or truck. Why only one?
This happens on an average one year
in four. But always throughout my
life, my travels, I see it like
a memorandum. Something I have
forgotten to remember,
that there are always
mysteries in life. That shoes
do not always go in pairs, any more
than we do. That one fits;
the other, not. That children can
thoughtlessly and in a merry fashion
chuck out someone's shoe, split up
But usually that shoe that I
see is a man's, old, worn, the sole
parted from the upper.
Then why did the owner keep the other,
keep it to himself? Was he
afraid (as I so often am with
inanimate objects) to hurt it's feelings?
That one shoe in the road invokes
my awe and my sad pity.
by Muriel Spark, from All The Poems of Muriel Spark