Walking In My Shoes

I

I don’t like walking in my shoes,
Soles worn smooth and they leak.
I know there are many
Walking in poorer shoes, but
I don’t like walking in my shoes.

Slide and slip through puddles,
Stones always find their way in,
Cut through sodden socks
Until I hobble my way home,
I don’t like walking in my shoes.

The man in the bus queue
Has a sole flapping loose,
Another has string for laces,
I know these are worse than mine but
I don’t like walking in my shoes.

I’m tired of my own footsteps,
My feet are bruised and sore,
Don’t try walking in my shoes,
They may not be glued together, but
I can’t bear walking in my shoes.

II

I cannot walk in their shoes
No matter how well they seem to fit,
Their tidy gravel paths are not mine,
Nor heels filed from pressing gas or brake,
Nor pavement smoothed soles
Thinned by the same daily roads,
These are mine no longer
Though I still see them,
Treading my own track in leaky leather,
No part for me in that play.

III

Look at these shoes:
Scuffed white beyond
Hope of polish, heels
Smoothed to ankle turning curves,
Soles sanded so every step
Is on ice, only the laces
Are new, still shop clean.
They do scrub up well,
Though it takes increasing effort,
Hardly worth the bother,
I doubt they’ll be footworthy
Much longer: lived in, walked in,
Gone round the clock, block and bend.
Look at them, these old shoes,
Worn out and near past it.
A bit like me really.

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