My Poetic Path

My journey…shared in poems, prose and photos.

Street People


Their faces, merging and melting together.

Peering up from the doorways and down to the pavement below.

Of every town and every city.

On too many streets.

Where have they all come from?

Where have they been?

And where will they be when we pass this way again?

The need: great.

The answers: few.

“There but for the grace…”

But do we ever,truly embrace that possibility?

Unless a careening,spiral downward.

The unthinkable.

Finally in our own complacent lives.

Rings true.

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Sister, can you spare the time?

To really listen.

To care.

To be part of the solution.

To forget about any blame.

Or do we once again simply look away.

Left only with the shame.


“Street People” © 2008 Geraldine H. Hartman

Photo: Courtesy of Flickr

Author: Geraldine

I am a freelance writer, poet, artisan, avid book/product reviewer and award-winning cookbook author. I recently published the second volume of my new vegetarian cookbook series: -The Groovy Green Kitchen II: Simply, Super, Supper Soups and my fun and inspirational book, all about aging well: -Laughing AT the Grim Reaper! Gems of Wisdom for Aging Well I am also the author of: -The Groovy Green Kitchen: Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker -Third Chapter, Second Chance (a mid-life romance) -Not Just for Vegetarians: Delicious Homestyle Cooking, the Meatless Way and the poetry collections: -Haiku Reflections:The Four Seasons (Volume i and II) and -My Poetic Path All titles available at, .ca, UK.... When I'm not writing or creating new recipes, I love to knit and crochet; usually with some "help" from feline friend, yarn-loving Mr. Cheddar! I hope you will visit and enjoy all of my blogs.Thanks for stopping by. Wishing You a Happy Week and Namaste! :-) You can also visit me at my new author's site:

16 thoughts on “Street People

  1. That’s my favorite quote “Thre but for the grace…” and I always try to remember it.

    My father has actually been homeless for about a year so i see how it happens and creeps up on people.. and how incredibly hard it is to rise above it and get out of that life. But some people do manage to do just that.

    Always help someone in need, no matter how little you can spare, and pray that some day when you are in the same need, someone helps you out when you need it.

    Doesn’t always go that way, but that’s how I like to think.

  2. Perfect words! Did you know a woman has come out with a toile fabric that depicts homeless people instead of barons and fancy scenes? Might Google it if you want to see it. I thought it was great. My husband is a psychiatrist at a state hospital. So many of the homeless are simply mentally ill. (Is there such a thing as “simply?”) And what kind of country do we have that they are “the forgotten?” The ones we pass by without seeing…

  3. Have to add: This would be perfect for Blog Action Day today. Or did you already know that and post it due to that fact? Just wondered, as 2008’s theme is poverty.

  4. I thought it would be a good Blog Action Day post too. The homeless problem in our society is chronic. I work with a volunteer group that helps homeless teens and they are kids just like our own children. In fact, they could be our own children. They get into petty crime and drugs due to a sense of hopelessness which means that people then label them as losers.

    Homelessness could also affect any of us at any time. When my husband had a heart attack last year the subsequent medical bills and loss of income meant we were about one paycheck away from living on the street. That scared me more than the heart attack. I don’t think homelessness and poverty will ever be adequately addressed until we realise it is our problem, the problem of every man and woman in our society and that collectively, we decide it is unacceptable for anyone, anywhere to sleep on the streets.

    Powerful post, G!

  5. Do we ever embrace that possibility? Great question, Geraldine. I don’t think we can unless we’ve actually felt the pain of hunger and the want of shelter. It’s hard when it’s merely a concept. In these times, though, it’s more a possibility than I like to admit.

  6. I often ask these questions and realize that could be me. G you always move me with your heart of gold. XXOO

  7. Hi Mia, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this tragedy, which for you has hit very close to home. I remember so well reading a very special post about your dad. How awful that he was left without a home. It does indeed ‘creep up’ on people and that’s something that’s happening even more now, not less.

    Hi Brenda, Thanks so much for letting me know about Blog Action Day. I have registered this post over at the site and put a link on my sidebar. There are some excellent insights to read into this problem and many, many suggestions on how to help in small or larger ways. Wonderful what a collective of caring people CAN DO, isn’t it?

    Hi Selma, That’s awful to read of your husband’s heart attack (glad he’s better though) and the strains it meant for you and your family. At times when we should be able to totally focus on personal needs of loved ones, the financial realities are still there or worse. We’ve been there and although were never homeless, we do know what it’s like to struggle with money for much too long. To go from being well-off to wondering where the groceries are coming from is a real ‘reality check’. I have been a volunteer at homeless shelters for many, many years. I have been so touched by the stories I’ve heard from people down on their luck and often out on the streets. There but for the grace….really, really true.

    Hi Sandy, We have and it has changed us forever. I will never be complacent about money or security again. On the plus side, during our struggles, it brought Joe and I even closer together which was a plus and not what happens to so many couples in a crisis. For that I am thankful. For having enough to meet our needs, I will always be thankful in the future and never to take anything or anyone I care about for granted.

    Hi Tammy, Yours is a shining heart of gold Tammy. Your comment brought tears to my eyes. Thanks dear friend.

    I hope that everyone who reads this post will keep the tragedy and ongoing crisis of homeless in mind and find a way to be part of the solution. There is so much need and every kind of help does count whether it be by volunteering, giving donations of food, money, clothing or the hundreds of other suggestions over at Blog Action Day on how to get involved. For me, being a volunteer has always been rewarding beyond any of my expectations. It is not just a way to do something good, it is a way to find such contentment and purpose too.

    With the tough financial times that the world continues to face each day; homelessness is never far away. It CAN happen to anyone.

    Hugs, G

  8. I’m sorry to say that there are many street people in Philadelphia. Some are clearly mentally ill. Others may be there because the city is known for high quality, cheap heroin. Many of the “homeless” young folks are addicts.

  9. The emptiness and hopelessness of street people must be as barren as the
    empty streets that they live on when all others have gone home. The despair along the road while getting there, the despair of being there, lost in a maze of tragedy. You did a great job word illustrating this major problem.

  10. Hi G,

    This is timely, especially with all the people who are in such financial trouble right now with their mortgages, many of whom are ending up homeless.

    There are more and more homeless people every day – even here in central Oregon, the shelters don’t have as many beds as are in demand.

  11. Even our small cities here in Maine have many people on the street. I hate to think what will happen this winter, now that the economy is worse.

  12. Hi Jason, Drug-use is a big part of the problem. The cycle of hopelessness can spiral downward so quickly and many people seek solace by using drugs, alcohol etc…only making the way out even harder to find. Sad to think that your city is known for it’s high quality “cheap” heroin, tragic.

    Hi Ann, The despair of the night setting in must be unbearable, out on the streets. I’m glad my work has conveyed this message well. I hope it helps to spread the word a bit and what people CAN do to help.

    Hi M, With winter coming on it’s a harder challenge for all the shelters, that’s for sure. And this is only a ‘bandaid’ solution at the best of times. Breaking the cycle of hopelessness is key, in my opinion. I am gratified by all the people and organizations who are trying to help but it’s still out of control. It breaks my heart…

    Hi Sandy, There will be a lot of people ‘on the streets’ I believe who never thought it could happen to them, given the current economic crisis.

    Hope that everyone who reads this will do what they can to help. Every good work is important, however small it seems.

    Hugs, G

  13. Wonderful combination of image and poem…. In our society that seems to have become so coldhearted, so quick to, as you say, blame–so unwilling, or so afraid, to see themselves in the eyes of the destitute, which of course is simply another, deeper form of destitution….

  14. This crisis weighs heavy on my heart, as my twin brother lives in a city just over an hour’s drive, on the streets. It breaks my heart when at times some people are on the streets because of mental illness. They leave their loved ones and find some kind of comfort in those around them on the streets. Drugs, poverty, abuse, these and so much more are what puts people there. It’s not because they are bad people. Even a smile or hello is better than just turning your head and walking away. They are someone’s son, daughter, sister, brother, or even Mom or Dad. We can’t ignore them or the problem.
    Thank you for posting this, we need to open our eyes.

  15. Homelessness is everyone’s problem. This tragedy can happen to anyone. Life can turn and things can go from bad to worse, in such a short time. We all need to find a way to help.

  16. Hi Yogafor…, Welcome and thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. Words to ponder, especially the last line you wrote. So true.

    Hi Writetoday, Welcome. What a personal tragedy for you to have in your life. How sad that your brother is homeless. I hope he is able to turn things around and soon. It is so true what you say about even a small gesture like saying ‘hello’ or a smile is better than nothing at all.

    Hi Joe, I’m glad you share my feelings and convictions about this ongoing crisis. It’s nice to have someone with me, helping out at homeless shelters etc. For years, I went alone.

    Thanks so much for your insightful comments, G

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