and he smelled of cheap red wine;
ragged clothes hung on his skinny frame
as he begged for nickels and dimes.
He dropped his head as I passed by
and threw a glance his way;
that Airborne tattoo on his arm
didn't mean very much these days.
I paused a moment then turned around
and walked back to that old man,
and dropped a ten in that old cup
he held with a mangled hand.
I had to stoop down to look in his eyes
cause he would not raise his head;
the emptiness behind his eyes
revealed the shell of a walking dead.
He shook his head when I ask his name,
no words passed through his lips;
then I saw the scar across his neck
that a bayonet had split.
That Airborne tattoo was put on his arm
seventy-one years ago;
now it's just another scar
on a tarnished and tortured soul.
I raised my hand and gave a salute
and thanked him for what he done;
he bought my freedom before I was born
in the face of Nazi guns.
I dropped another ten in that old cup
then I turned away to go;
I caught a glimpse of pride in the eyes
of a worn out dying soul.
Fighting back the tears I walked away
from that dirty worn out bum;
wondering if anyone cares if he dies somewhere
in an alley alone and drunk?
Who really knows deep in his soul
the demons he has to fight;
and if that sweet red wine will ease his mind
when he lies down to sleep tonight?