#poetscorner is a feature in which PTL Editors ask writers to share a poem of theirs with the internet. We also ask them to divulge on how they started writing poetry, what inspired the poem in question and why it remains a personal favourite. The idea being to bask in the glory of the written and/or spoken word. Oh dear…
This poem is inspired by a conversation that I had with a woman at an emergency accommodation provider. I volunteer there regularly and have met many different people, but this woman seemed to be unusually confident. She told me where she was moving on to and her aspirations.
‘Homelessness’ was a circumstance that she would hopefully no longer be in. You’re only ever a couple of steps away from being ‘homeless’, depending on your support networks; drink and drugs are often the effect, not cause, of this situation.
This poem is an appeal to compassion, rather than common judgment through visual stereotypes, of people experiencing ‘homelessness’.
‘Homelessness’: Seen Again and Again
Cuts are sketched to her face like
An attempt to follow a pattern.
Pink, inky needles threading
Delicate colour under thin skin.
Someone trying to get in.
Yet cold hate cannot win here.
The air is heavy with an accurate
Heat, a caring meal repeating the
Full treatment for the sustenance
Needed. It can cleanse the
Sterility of the everyday- that
Lucid way we are able to free
Ourselves when there is so much
That we should say. This serving
Of food sees in a warmth
To the heart – a volunteered part.
Healthy understanding is the
Rare and requisite banding,
Of people we too often
Think should not
Be placed together. As if
Some thing or another makes
homelessness define you.
The very old, but prevalent
This woman would like to
Work in sales, a refuge after
‘Refuge’ she tells. Her words
Do not weather her like
The elements do.
She is funny too. Her eyes are
Bright and blue and easy to
Hold on to. Yet they leave
Much untold. Her thanks is
Sincere and she
Speaks, as she pleases.
No expectations appeased in
This mixture of abuse and
Misfortune, structure, and
A most living depiction of
Those lacking help in certain
Circumstances, missing particular
Chances -or never having had them
Offered, in the first place.
It can never be enough to see a
‘Homeless person’ merely in a
Passing way, when we can
Take a moment, or more, of
To make sure that we are at
The very least fully aware,
That there really is,
And always was:
A real person there.
Maeve is a third year Social Anthropology student at Cambridge, interested in poetry, art and raising awareness about issues such as educational disadvantage and homelessness, by supporting local charities. She’s currently working on a project to increase the recreational activities available at the local emergency accommodation provider mentioned, working with staff to create more opportunities by finding external support and resources for them. All in a day’s work.
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