The most beautiful flower

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree
Disillusioned by life, with good reason to frown
for the world was intent on dragging me down

And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day
a young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
and said with great excitement, “Look what I found!”

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight
with its petals all worn — not enough rain or too little light
Wanting him to take the dead flower and go off to play
I faked a small smile and then shifted away

But instead of retreating he sat next to my side
placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise
“It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful too.
That’s why I picked it; here, it’s for you.”

The weed before me was dying or dead
not vibrant of colours: orange, yellow or red
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave
so I reached for the flower and replied, “Just what I need.”

But instead of placing the flower in my hand
he held it mid-air without reason or plan
It was then that the gears started running in my mind
That weed-toting boy could not see; he was blind

I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun
as I thanked him for picking the very best one
“You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play
unaware of the impact he’d had on my day

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
a self-pitying man beneath an old willow tree
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he’d been blessed with true sight

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
the problem was not with the world; the problem was me
And for all those times I myself had been blind
I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that’s mine

And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose,
breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
and smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand
about to change the life of an unsuspecting old man

— Author unknown