To the Homeless Beyond the River

(Written in Orick, CA — an outpost of civilization beyond which only Free hills range)


I watch you walk the levee road
You, your faithful animals,
Your hearts’ abysmal load

Each morning as the chilly sun
Rises on the countryside
Another day begun

And though I sit writing to you
This morning, warm and dry
Please understand, I’ve been there too

I know all about waking cold
To a world of heartbreak full
Feeling one million years old

Facing an abandoned day
With no present loved one to
A friendly morning greeting say

From those who should be your support
For times when you were good to them
You now have no report

What will you do in all this rain
But stare out at the day,
Review your everpresent pain

Wish to find a shed, a barn
Somewhere no inconvenience be
For a moment to feel warm

Try to patch that stubborn leak
Without tools or resources
Too depressed to speak

In the harsh grey cities, all
You’d have to do is show yourself
To be lined up by the wall

Interrogated, searched, harassed
Then beaten by your fellow homeless
At the hard day’s last

A mercy, though it may be small
To get back safely to your tent
If you have a tent at all

Current city reality:
No matter what the plot of ground
You’re there illegally

Even a courageous friend
Cannot let you in their yard
This the laws prevent

Though you may move in daily fear
Hardship, want and tragedy
Mercy’s given to you here

And though you must through sorrow plod
At least you do so in some peace
A policy which I applaud

Perhaps some soon day we will see
A more mature humanity
Treats itself compassionately

Till then, you are our true disgrace
But know it could be so much worse
For here you have, if marginal, a place


Among us, poets are not paid. The poet/editor of this website, being physically disabled, lives at a fraction of her nation’s poverty level. Become a patron of the fine arts at: or via PayPal at:

3 thoughts on “To the Homeless Beyond the River

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