Friday, 10 June 2011

Poetry Jam The shoe shine boy

File:PM Cherry1.JPG
Cherry Blossom Polish
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The shoe shine boy

The shoe shine boy has a wooden box
With brushes and dusters and polish
And every day at seven he walks
To his usual pitch.

He knows by the shoes that the people wear
The ones who will give him their custom,
The trainers and sandals will not need his care –
They will not make him rich.

Cherry Blossom’s the very best shoe wax,
He finds the smell’s intoxicating,
He bends his back to the shoes on the racks -
There is never a hitch.

At the end of the day the shoe shine boy
Stumbles home to his humble dwelling,
For this bare-foot boy, there’s no lasting joy –
His life is a bitch.

'The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday - but never jam today' - except here 


  1. Interesting look at a trade that used to be much more prevalent than it is now. I can't recall when the last time I got a shoe shine was.

    Tossing It Out

  2. nice one, Jab! you never know what you'll get at the jam.

  3. So many times you get me at the last sentence! I love that. I remember shoeshine boys from when I was a child in California. My father would get his shined at a sidewalk stand. Sometimes little boys would run up to you and offer a shine.

  4. This reminded me of a photo I posted recently, of my last shoeshine.
    We were in Quito, Ecuador, before we went to the Galapagos Islands. I was wearing a pair of expensive leather "granny shoes" recommended by my rheumatologist, and they were getting rather scruffy. We had hired a guide/driver for the day, and were walking along a Quito street when two young men spied my shoes. Our guide agreed I needed some help, so the two of them set to, making my shoes look as good as new in double-quick time.
    I'm sure I over-tipped them, because I recall my husband mumbling at me. :o)
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  5. The only shoes I shine are my riding boots, because they need to look the part when I'm on my horse, hehe. My other shoes hardly ever see shoe shine. Let alone shoe shine boys. Though we have a huge box full of all kinds of shoe shine materials. Not the cherry kind though. I do love cherries. The shiny dark red ones. To eat ;-)

  6. smiles. this was the off take on the prompt...and shoe shining is something i used to do with my dad back int he day so it was filled with nice memories...

  7. Ha! Perfectly timed punch at the end. I love the smell of shoe polish - it reminds me of my Dad. I still have 2 pairs of boots that I polish, and I'm lucky enough to be able to enjoy the ritual of it since I don't have to earn my keep by it.

  8. an ode to hard working people

  9. I enjoyed your look back at what was once a common sight. You captured the life of the shoeshine boy very well.

  10. The last shoeshine boy I saw was in Marrakech and he wanted to brush and put polish on my white linen sport shoes ! (the colors he had were brown and black)
    I gave him a little money he also has to earn his life.

  11. Very interesting post!
    Thanks for sharing;o)

    Have a nice and happy weekend****

    ps: I promise I didn't put the underwear on that garbage bin. Anyway it wasn't my size;o)

  12. Not too many shoeshine boys around anymore. Seems I see them now only in airports & in one large mall. Poor boy, shoeless but shining others' shoes.

  13. You are so clever! I never suspected till the end that he was barefoot.

  14. Poor shoe shine boy... I feel sorry for him.

  15. Like everyone else I feel sorry for the poor shoeshine boy. Love the image of the cherries.

  16. Life does not sound good for the shoe shine boy. The poem tells the story well.

  17. I thoroughly enjoyed this sideways go at the prompt. Your rhyme scheme was another pleasure.

  18. Very cleverly constructed poem about a subject that has me somewhat uncertain. I would find it hard to sit there while another human being shines my shoes. Yet they need the money...

  19. Thank you all, folks:-)
    I have never had my shoes polished while they're on my feet but I can understand that it's a way of earning a pittance for a crust. So many have so much - so many have so little.

  20. I was just sitting outside with my Cherry Blossom doing the school shoes and even then I never made the connection with the Jam this week! Think I enjoyed the unexpectedness of this as much as anything - and the tight rhyme.

  21. I enjoyed the rhyme too - and the reminder that while a person might enjoy parts of his job he might still be miserable...


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