FGM may I introduce you to Chevvy8? I’m not sure if this is a coincidence …
What if it isn’t a coincidence? What if …?
Thank you Chevvy. This is lovely and relevant on so many levels for me and especially the 4th line of the second verse. I hope ‘What If’s’ resonates with others too …
Cometh the Shower, Cometh the Man – the plight of the homeless
Four walls, three windows, two doorsteps front and back, one roof. Zero! Countdown to loss and a loss so profound it has no bounds. Too difficult to contemplate the rate at which this loss creates the fate of anyone of us. Because we are not immune, to any of the fates that wait unseen ready to pounce without fore-warning. Crouching like a tiger, amongst the foliage of life, breathing soft, aloft the cares, concerns and worries of it’s prey, it leaps and you become the very thing you toiled and sweated to avoid: the homeless person, the bag lady, the tramp.
When you lose your home, to a great extent, you lose yourself. Your identity forged on the furnace of the place from which you come. You lose yourself. You lose your rights. You lose your body, becoming visibly invisible for others see you but choose not to acknowledge you, because you don’t have an address. An address, sought after, a number placed upon a door, a number which identifies you and shouts: this is where you can find me on any given day at any given hour, for this is where I live.
Paula* talking on the radio, loud and clear for all to hear. No longer a statistic but a person with a place to call her own. When she opened her front door, I can’t tell you how her spirit soared. Soared to heights it’s hard to describe. She speaks of stepping in the shower in which she spent over an hour, no water saving there! An hour in the shower, is a luxury for a woman who lost the power to shower for longer than she cares to say. Sleeping on a pillow became the stuff of dreams. She slept for as long as she wanted, her head resting on a pillow. The joy, the pleasure to sleep at leisure when one has slept on a cold pavement with fresh air for a pillow and fresh air for a blanket cannot be denied.
To clear the streets and house the homeless they talked of Bills and Parliament. Talk of cross-party support was vital: to get the Bill through Parliament. This becomes a burning issue. Reasons for homelessness are mooted. Domestic violence cited and indicted. Domestic violence stands accused, for who would choose to lose their home? Who would choose to lose their identity? Who would prefer to walk the streets, alone, afraid, if Domestic violence at first charming, so disarming, becoming outraged, impossible to assuage had not moved in and changed the locks on their front door?
*Dedicated to “Paula” who spoke of her plight of homelessness and the part domestic violence played on BBC Radio 4, in London. Enjoy your shower, Paula!
On days when things weigh me down, I like to read this poem. I find it uplifting.
THROW YOURSELF LIKE SEED
by Miguel de Unamuno
Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit; sluggish you will never see the wheel of fate that brushes your heel as it turns going by, the man who wants to live is the man in whom life is abundant.
Now you are only giving food to that final pain which is slowly winding you in the nets of death, but to live is to work, and the only thing which lasts is the work; start then, turn to the work.
Throw yourself like seed as you walk, and into your own field, don’t turn your face for that would be to turn it to death, and do not let the past weigh down your motion.
Leave what’s alive in the furrow, what’s dead in yourself, for life does not move in the same way as a group of clouds; from your work you will be able one day to gather yourself.
o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o – o
“Unamuno’s name is remembered in Spain, even today, as a symbol of courage and integrity. In saying that to live is to work, Unamuno even infers that a life without work is itself a kind of living death. But the work that is truly yours is the life that is truly yours; and if we have created something from our labors, it will speak for us long after we are gone.”¹
¹Roger Housden – “ten poems to set you free”
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