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Posts Tagged ‘street living’

I often wonder in more generous moments if the colossal indifference we, as a society, show the homeless – particularly those forced to scavenge an existence from the streets – is because of the fear we experience in recognising that there is the finest line between the life we live and the life we could live if just one or two things changed.

We often fail to see the human being, with hopes, dreams and aspirations that now ekes out an existence on our streets. Somehow he or she is less than human. And sometimes we see the most violent reaction to a person asking for coin to survive. There is an automatic assumption that they are a scrounger or criminal, that they want the money for drink or drugs (and if they do, that in and of itself is a reason not to give them money). We are more comfortable with attaching a label.

I have struggled to reconcile street living with the values of a civilised society.

I still can’t make it fit.

The Beggar Girl

She appals and disgusts,

this beggar girl,

croaking and coughing

down on the pavement,

thin fingers

groping from her

nicotine threads,

a skin-sack of bones,

heaped in her corner,

trolling our evenings for

pity and silver.


She angers and provokes,

this beggar girl,

shaking and stinking

down on the pavement,

sunken eyes

searching from her

spit-stained hood,

like piss holes in snow,

dead in her skull,

jabbing our consciences with

hunger and shivers.


She defies and disturbs,

this beggar girl,

whining and weeping

down on the pavement,

once alive –

dancing with her

sister and friends,

swimming in an ocean,

eating floss in the wind,

imagining her future of

chances and lovers.


She confronts and questions,

this beggar girl,

pleading and praying

down on the pavement,

now dying –

tiring from our

fearful silence,

forgiving embarrassment,

appealing for release,

grasping her moments of

softness and giving.

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