The Beggars

You didn't know
what was in the heap. A visitor found
it to contain beggars. They sell the hollow
of their hands.

They show the sightseer
their mouths full of filth,
and let him (he can afford it) peer
at the mange eating away at them.

In their twisted vision
his stranger's face is skewed;
they are pleased with their accession,
and when he speaks they spew.

More Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke