Rosie, the shopping cart lady
Rosie pushed her cart along,
While she pushed she hummed her song.
From one end of town to the other she went,
Walking and humming as if she’d been sent
To pick up the glass, the papers and wire.
She even had with her a big ol’ bald tire.
Some people said that she was sure crazy,
Some people said that she was just lazy,
But Rosie, herself, she could not explain
About the day it began to rain...
on her life.
She had some folks whom she called friends,
They said, “Good mornin’, nice to see you again.”
There was old Willie, tried and true,
He worked down on Bleeker Street polishing shoes.
He’d say: “Miz Rosie, take a load off your feet,
Rest here before you go back on the street.”
On many days she passed by Sally
Who sold hotdogs on McNally.
“Howdy, Rosie,” Sally would say.
“Have you had some lunch today?”
Then she’d take out from her cart
A hot dog...
Rosie touched her heart.
Some afternoons she’d look for Pete,
He swept up litter on the street.
Pete was kind, he’d tip his hat
And talk to her ‘bout this and that.
But Rosie knew, when he seemed blue,
That life was hard on ‘ol Pete too.
One afternoon, well before dark,
She slipped and fell near Fuller Park
A crowd of people stopped to stare,
A woman cried, “Oh my! Her hair!”
No one would lend a helping hand
So Rosie tried her best to stand,
Just then, a young boy came along.
He paused and asked her what was wrong.
Rosie groaned, she grabbed her knee,
“I don’t think I can walk, you see.
It was so kind of you to stop...”
“Hold on,” he said, “I’ll call a cop.”
They loaded Rosie on a stretcher
To take her to the hospital over on Fletcher.
“Don’t worry,” the boy said, “I’ll meet you there.
Your cart will be safe in my care.”
A doctor looked at Rosie’s knee,
(It wasn’t broken, luckily).
An icepack, so it wouldn’t swell,
A kind nurse bandaged her up well:
“Don’t go so soon. Here... rest and mend...”
But Rosie left to find her friend.
The boy recalled, while she was inside,
How the first time he saw her he wanted to hide.
He’d known about Rosie since he was a kid—
That “peculiar cart-lady” down on the skid.
One day his friends threw some rocks at her cart
But the boy felt too sad... No, he couldn’t take part.
He remembered her sitting alongside the curb,
Looking tired and lonely, a little disturbed.
He had stared at those rags that were socks on her feet
He had wondered about her strange life on the street...
How he wanted to help her. But what could he do?
Maybe save up some money to buy her some shoes?
Funny how things had happened today,
How he’d come upon Rosie right there in his way...
Now he was standing and guarding her cart
Somehow it helped that sad place in his heart.
Out on the curb as she spotted the boy
Rosie’s heart filled up with joy.
His word had been true—her cart was all there,
She blinked a tear, she smoothed her hair.
He asked: “Old lady, where’s your home?”
On the streets,” she said, “But I’m fine, alone.”
Old Rosie, she could still remember
Years ago, one cold September
When her life was torn apart.
And when she first packed up her cart.
Somehow it helped to push along
And rock and sing the same old song,
Somehow it helped her not to feel
The pain she could not seem to heal.
Then Rosie said, “I gotta go.
Tonight, I think, it’s gonna snow.
I’d best move on to Bleeker Street,
I know a place to warm my feet.”
Rosie smiled and waved goodbye
And brushed that teardrop from her eye.
“Thank you boy,” he heard her shout,
“Today you really helped me out.”
As the boy went on his way
He thought about this special day—
“Rosie, it’s true that I helped you...
I hope you know you helped me too.”
Rosie, the shopping cart lady
Prescott, Hohm Press, 1996