A shameful stride

This is the second of two poems I’ve written recently about homelessness.

We sometimes forget how lucky we are to have a roof over our heads, how close we all are at times to being ‘down and out’ – there but for the grace and support of family or friends go many of us, I’d venture – and how health and social care, welfare and economic government policy, is leading to a terrifying increase in people being forced to the margins of society.

This poem is merely passing comment, but if you’d like to contribute to fending off the crisis in homelessness, please donate to, or volunteer with Crisis, the national charity for homeless people.


A shameful stride


I got dazed by the view of hundreds of homeless hearts
beating outside;
chests exposed and greasy blankets folded
beaten aside.

When the haze dispersed I saw lines of sorry eyes
averted purposefully;
“god bless” a refrain of desperate slumping civilisation
inserted nervously.

My path curved around the sad hole I saw they’d fallen into
calling politely;
their caustic heavenward glare sodden deep with tears
calls imploringly.

Faltered churn,
my stomach contents overthrown by a guilty spare change jangle;
fractured chum,
my feet root in concrete, my hand reaches out with sparing pennies.

Dropping coins
with a mumbled “good luck” wish, a silent non-breath;
dropping coins,
so as not to accidentally touch dirty palms.

Shameful stride
away, along, on, albeit lighter in the pocket;
hateful pride,
as I don’t shake that feeling of not doing more.

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