Thankful For

by | Nov 24, 2020

Impetus for this poem, and article, came from a situation where a homeless person was traumatized while living out of their car. It could have happened here. It also could have happened far away. Either way, homelessness is a scourge that impacts far too many. While great efforts have been made to address this concern, there is still much more to be done. Erasing stigma, which all too often assigns blame, is a start.

Mental health, job loss, substance use, criminal records, military trauma and more, can turn lives asunder. Despite the tumult, and acrimony that has accompanied the 2020 year, most who are reading this have much to be grateful for as we head into the holidays. Not everyone gets to enjoy even a virtual Thanksgiving. Not everyone gets to roast chestnuts over an open fire. We will eventually find a vaccine for the coronavirus. Now, if only the same could be said about homelessness.

Without A Home

The weary face often passed
With condemning eyes
Did once upon long ago
Look to gentler skies

Shattered glass at midnight
Showered down in wrath
Upon lonely souls a sleeping
Near other’s daily path

So subtle is fate’s twist
A storm or rising tides
Sweeps away one’s table
While attacking what’s inside

Yet something crueler still
Befalls those who struggle such
Tis blame and indifference –
Completely out of touch

Judge gentle on the traveler
Who always seems to roam
In doing so be grateful
That you get to go back home

I wish you all a peaceful Thanksgiving. Please stay safe, count your blessings and take care of your neighbors. See you soon. – Bob

Bob Houghtaling is the director of the East Greenwich Drug Program, a mental health counselor, and a poetry lover. Photo by Simon Maage.

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