By: Noah Zaiser
St. Louis has truly found its way into my heart,
From the greenest of gardens to the illustrious Gateway Arch.
These streets are for walking and parks are for playing,
While Busch Stadium is enjoyably too loud to hear what anyone is saying.
The dogs roam the streets with or without leashes,
Which is just as pleasing as finding fruit in the garden and the smell of peaches.
At night you’ll see the brightest of sights among streetlights,
And the cool breeze will make everything feel just right.
But there’s so much more than the sights alone,
It’s beyond the attractions, or the screens of our phones.
Down in the city hides a poverty stricken population,
Which may come as a surprise from such a pretty city of this nation.
Women sleep in bus stops and men stand on the corner asking for money,
They wear coats because it’s all they can afford-even when the weather is sunny.
Food doesn’t come naturally to these people,
Even as we eat well in the house under the church steeple.
We worked with young children in a downtown elementary school,
Where experience was how they thrived-money wasn’t a learning tool.
Such innocence and kindness surrounded them without a care,
Most small girls were content with only a small sunflower in their hair.
In the gardens we worked to beautify and cleanse the surrounding places,
Given profuse thanks for our help with smiles on their faces.
We’re more than we realize to the people we’ve worked alongside,
A volunteer coordinator was so gracious that she almost cried.
So of course you’ll hear the fantastic experiences we had in the city,
But to ignore the underlying poverty would truly be a pity.
There will be stories among stories to come back home and tell,
Although we cannot deny that in this place, all is not well.
I’ll take my personal wants and set them aside,
If only that would mean to remember someone less fortunate than I.
This is not a vacation or a simple trip,
I won’t ever allow the reality of it all to loosen from my grip.