Homeless

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

Homeless

Incomplete women and incomplete men
schlep up the avenue and back again
bearing their bundles over their backs,
the remains of their lifetimes stuffed into sacks.

Patiently trudging with impassive faces,
trying to find the impossible places
where they may rest, be they new ones or prior,
to find a safe haven and build a small fire.

What have they done to warrant this life?
To live out existence that cuts like a knife?
A wife who couldn’t put up anymore
with an abusive husband? A bully and bore?

Are his brains addled? Is he confused?
Were they once children neglected, abused?
They sit collected, their backs to the wall.
What will society do with them all?

Collect them in shelters or drive them away
from Interstate medians where by night and day
they lie hidden by bushes, secure, so they think,
to dream away days or to shoot up or drink?

Such wasted lives that have slipped through the cracks,
stripped of their power, defined by their lacks.
They line our sidewalks, devoid of our riches,
to show us society’s obvious glitches.

Prompt words today are incomplete, bundle, patiently, schlep and prior.

22 thoughts on “Homeless

  1. Robert Poppe

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful and powerful poem Judy. It’s terrific!

    So many homeless people in Denver.

    In the evenings I often go walking at what is essentially a wildlife refuge not far from where I live. It’s such a beautiful place, with all kinds of animals and birds.

    It’s a pretty large area that runs along Clear Creek; with lots of springs, brooks, ponds and lakes. The tree and plant life is so thick in places that it’s impenetrable.

    Many homeless stay in the refuge at night. The other evening a homeless man stopped me to ask if I would walk him across the bridge because he was afraid some guy was going to shoot him.

    He was an older man who had difficulty walking. His clothes were covered in mud.

    He thanked me after I walked across the bridge with him. It just broke my heart.

    So much misery, suffering and hate in this world.

    On Sat, Jun 26, 2021 at 8:31 AM lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown wrote:

    > lifelessons posted: ” Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses > yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send > these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden > door! The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundatio” >

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I think the big swell of homeless started with Reagan when they kicked them out of mental asylums, thereby “defending their rights to freedom.” In short, to save money. In Denver I’ve heard (at least in the past) that they found it cheaper to provide homeless with a small apartment and sometimes a carekeeper than to pay to deal with the problems and their medical expenses after they deteriorated. Have you heard this? It was a successful program at least at the beginning. i haven’t researched it since.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I didn’t see that many homeless in Australia but I guess there weren’t as many in the states way back then either. Has it become a bigger problem there as well?

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  2. Pingback: Homeless | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  3. Eilene Lyon

    This is very poignant, Judy. I don’t get why we live in a society that allows this to happen. The Netherlands really opened my eyes to a better way to manage a country and culture.

    We now have an official city/county homeless camp with some services. They have a large dumpster and it is always overflowing, and still there is refuse (teeming and otherwise) everywhere. I don’t really get it. I rescued one of their dogs recently-a little Yorkie about to get run over. Paid the Humane Society fee so the pet’s person wouldn’t have to. This is not a long-term solution to the problem. I suspect there is a segment of people at the camp who wouldn’t live indoors if you begged them to.

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