Tuesday, April 8, 2008


For Jane's Inspirations.

What do you see when you see me?
Do you see your reflection mirrored in me?
Is that why I cause you such discomfort and pain?

What do think when you pass me by?
Perhaps that you are better because of my state?
Yet, I'm not crazy, I'm no druggie
and haven't gambled my life away.
If I were -
if I had -
would that ease your distress?

Have I so easily become part
of this architectural landscape
that you only see
me defacing your buildings
like some unwanted graffiti?

Have my outstretched hands become
so insignificant,
that you fail to read
my signs of anguish and pain?

Does my calming demeanor lead you to think
that I'm fine -
not hungry or sad?

When you see me -
do not let your hearts become as solid and cold
as the pavement on which I sit.

When you see me -
do not let my outstretched hand hang in supplication -
for I do not solicit anything more than that which sustains.

I would rather you acknowledge my existence than smell it;
I would rather you look beyond my countenance
to see the man behind the sullied mask.
For I mean you no harm.

But if feelings of discomfort rise within you -
then at least you have begun to understand my state.

And if feelings of fear rise within you -
then at least you have begun to understand my pain.

For I was once one of you,
and saw reflections of me
never littering streets unknown
with family, home and abundance of love.

But life dealt a tragic blow
Leading me here
Feeding a depression for a family long gone.
Fate led me here
Starving the existence that you've come to know.

And now I am nothing more
than part of this architectural landscape -
like graffiti defacing your beautiful life,
watching reflections of me pass me by.

My outstretched hands nothing more
than needy vessels -
unseen -
until the day I die.

So when you pass me by,
Look my way -
See my face,
Feel my pain,
and see me for who I am.

Because in the end,
there but for the Grace of God you go -

Because in the end,
I am
Simply -
Uncomfortably -
Fearfully -


Stacey said...

Hi Rebbeca
Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comments...

I like your style of writing!!
Reading your "home" poem I think you would like one of my previous posts I have written called: "Endless Road" as they both share a similar topic.

I look forward to returning to read ;-)

Leigh Lear said...

wow, this is very powerful.

Jeques said...


Your words made me feel empathy for this forgotten souls of the society, they are their but unnoticed ~ I fel guilty myself because many times I have ignored their existence. We have lots of them in my country, I believe most 3rd world countries like the Philippines do.

They have stories to tell what brought them their, who would care to listen? Poems like this give them voice, poems like this take not only our eyes to their corner but our hearts to their life.


I wish you well.

~ Jeques

paisley said...

bravo rebecca!!! very well told... and so amazingly true!!!!

PixieDust said...

"I would rather you acknowledge my existence than smell it."

How powerful is this line?! This line alone - underneath the image... you have made a bold statement here, mi Amor. The power of your words is amazing to me - every time - amazing.


shammi said...

I dont normally take the time to read poems, but the photograph really caught my attention - and then your poem did. Lovely and evocative writing!

Billy said...

Just a part of the landscape. That is maybe the best dscription of the person in the pic that we all see in some form. This is a powerful poem that gets beneath the casual glance so well. And it is certainly an indictment for so many of us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind comment on my site. I am so sorry that you have also shared the pain of losing a child.
Your post is so powerful. I don't like being reminded that I've had all those feelings, for I feel so guilty. I do believe that the homeless, etc. are with us as tests for us..so that we can show a generosity of spirit, a caring.

Jane Doe said...

What a powerful piece! It is so easy to ignore the homeless and write them off as just another druggy looking for a fix. What we fail to realize is that they are people, just like us, who had a hard time of it and lost everything, not necessarily through any fault of their own.

So wonderfully written, and a very, very powerful message.

Welcome to Jane's Inspirations! Thanks for participating.

Sherry/Cherie said...

Rebecca, your words capture this image incredibly well. I didn't participate in this one though I thought about it -- I couldn't bring myself to find the words. I'm glad you did.

rebecca said...

stacey & leigh: thank you. i'm happy it touched a part of you...it was the intended effect.

jeques: thank you my friend. and, you're right, they are one of the forgotten souls in this world. we just have to step back and realize that they are no different from us; in fact, we should be more sympathetic because of their struggle in this life.

paisley: yes, it is true, isn't it? sometimes we have to take stock of the error of our ways.

pixie: oh, but if we could all just learn to look beyond what we see (in all forms of life) this world would be such a better place. thank you for your words, amor, you are a light in this world....

shammi: funny, i generally do not write poetry, yet this is the way this chose to come out. whether it can be considered true poetry or not, i don't know...but what is important is that the message came through.

billy: yes, many still fail to see, having been relegated as part of the landscape...and that is a tragedy indeed.

westcoastauntie: thank you for that. and as long as we become aware once again, we have taken a step in the right direction.

jane doe: thank you. yes, and that was precisely my point -- that they are no different from us, only in the respect that they have been dealt a hard blow. and, i am looking forward to contributing more to jane's inspirations.

sherrie: i know what you mean. initially, i had a hard time trying to put something together and thought of how i could use this picture in an honorable and just way. this faction of society that is unseen, unheard, and unrecognized needed a voice. my hope was to give them that. i hope i succeeded in that.

blessings and love,

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

This is very moving, and only in part because my fictional band, ShapeShifter, writes a song called Behold Me. I think you can figure out what it's about.

This is a lovely, lovely poem.

gautami tripathy said...

There are too many homeless people in India. This touched me!

signs of truth

keith hillman said...

This is such a powerful yet tender piece. I admire the way you've allowed the subject to retain his dignity

Crafty Green Poet said...

its very easy to forget that homeless people have usually had really unfortunate life stories leading them to where they are now, thanks for the reminder

anthonynorth said...

Powerful and, in a way, humbling.

jadey said...

Wow what an emotional piece. Really makes you think in our fast paced lives how often we must walk by someone who really just needs a helping hand to make it through the day and there are days you walk by and don't even see the face everything is just a blur.

Cricket's Hearth said...

this is extremely powerful - I rarely see this in the rural area in which I live, but I will now forever have a different view.

Geraldine said...

This was a very difficult to read but beautifully written at the same time. I have a real empathy for homeless people, whatever their circumstances or pasts may be. And as you say, "there but for the grace...." This truly could be anyone's story.


Rambler said...

I like the idea of seeing oneself in the homeless..its a real touching tale

rebecca said...

hi susan: thank you so much for your lovely comment! i have to swing by sometime this week and look at your blog for Behold Me. just the title alone speaks volumes.

hello guatami: there are too many homeless people around the world my friend. it is one of the saddest things in our collective societies and perhaps, each of us, with the recognition of the struggles of their daily lives can at least make it a little better for them whenever we come across and lend whatever helping hand we can, whether in food or some money.

hello keith: thank you for saying that you admire the way i've allowed the subject to retain his dignity. this was extremely important to me in creating this piece because keeping one's dignity is everything and many, many times, this is all they have left. we have no right to further their despair and strip them of it.

hi crafty green poet: yes it is very easy to forget how they got there. thank you for that comment.

hi anthony: yes, humbling indeed. that was my intent. we should all be humbled by their lives.

hello jadey, my friend: i know! how many times do we not "see" them because we are so busy and focused in ourselves - our thoughts, the lists of things to do, etc. yet, if we do a simple thing like staying in the present, how can we not see them?

ms. cricket: thank you so much for that!

hi geraldine: i know...sometimes the most tragic of things are the most difficult to see and read. and, yes, and there but for the Grace of God we all go. thank you so much for that lovely comment.

hi rambler: it is only in the power of connecting and seeing ourselves in another that we can begin to understand. thank you for your comment.

texasblu said...

You last stanza really sends a jolt into the mind to remember - I recall being young and walking through the city with my parents - we saw a homeless man sleeping in a doorway - I was concerned for him but my parents rushed me by.... I think some of us just naturally "see" when others are blind. You've done an excellent job of saying "look!" to the reader.

Lucy said...

you wrote this so well and with so much compassion like you've been in the shoes of the homeless. Also.. As I read these amazing words, I couldn't help being overwhelmed with the possibility of this becoming a song. If you write music or know someone who does, Omg.. this would be the most incredible song. :)

chennairamblings said...

Powerful, maybe more so because we empathise with the homeless here instead of pitying them.
That's what they want in the end, our support rather than our pity...

tumblewords said...

Excellent. I think that's exactly right - we fear to look at others - almost as if they are contagious - strange. Anyway, nice work!

rebecca said...

texasblu: thank you for those words. and, yes, how often do we pass them by without really "seeing" them.

lucy: oh, thank you so much for that lovely and touching comment! no, i have never been homeless yet it was easy for me to put myself in their shoes and feel their pain. we tend to forget that we are all one and the same with the exception that some of us have been spared this pain in life. and as far as a song? wow, i'm very honored!

chennairamblings: yes, the definitely do not need our pity...what they need is our understanding and help.

tumblewords: yes, we often look at those things that are uncomfortable or that we cannot connect with, with fear. we always fear that which we do not understand...thank you for your comment.

Selma said...

That could be any one of us. We never truly know what lies around the corner. We have to remember that homeless people are people too. Well-written. Sad and real.

AmbiguityLotus said...

"And now I am nothing more
than part of this architectural landscape -
like graffiti defacing your beautiful life,
watching reflections of me pass me by."

I love those lines best as they touched me. Overall, this was a touching piece! It's so sad that in every country, there are homeless people. :(

White Rose said...

Rebecca, this is so beautiful!

The piece I wrote, is what I see every day when I come home from work.
I have struck up a friendship with a homeless old vet on the corner. And I see so many people sitting in their cars and I can tell they're extremely uncomfortable. But he is a great guy, that has had a lot of shit thrown at him.

I give him food when I can and have put him up in a motel room on very cold nights.

It is such a vicious circle for the homeless to get any assistance. I wish people could understand this!

Take care,


Maithri said...

Dear Rebecca,

What a powerful piece.

I feel the deep compassion you have etched into each line here...

Thank you for being in this world...

We need more hearts who care... who believe in our connection...as one humanity.

My love and gratitude,


floreta said...

VERY powerful. and spot on!

quin browne said...

poets continue to fascinate me.

Tammie Lee said...

truly, what we see is a reflection of something within us.

rebecca said...

Floreta: Thank you. This picture touched me so that I couldn't even begin to express to you how deeply it touched my heart. From there on, the words just flowed. I wanted to write something that honored him as an individual, as a person with feelings, as someone who is struggling to survive and not just another "blight" that many seem to walk by in our society without thought or consideration.

Quin Browne: Thank you though I believe I am far from a poet. Sometimes, however, some poetry does seem to flow from these veins.

Tammie Lee: Isn't that the truth? And the only thing separating him from us is 'circumstance,' nothing else. Like I said, there but for the Grace of God we go....

Dee Martin said...

So true that we tend to rationalize a person's circumstance as being their fault somehow so that we can close the door and be smug in our belief that it could never be us in that position. With the current state of our economy our smugness could be peeled away couldn't it? Well said.

Tanya Gwen Minnick said...

wow, this was a very powerful and moving poem.
I believe that we are all equal, regardless of the place we happen to be in ...power, status..etc.
at any point the roles could be reversed..and other's pain and suffering is also my pain and suffering because there is no way to deny that we are all connected..in joy and sorrow..
great post

Anonymous said...

hoho- woah this is powerful! great piece!

Anonymous said...

Tough topic tackled well.


Luke @ WordSalad

(mine are here -

Jingle Poetry said...

heartfelt words.
thanks for sharing with potluck...
love the image,
perfect piece for potluck...

see you then.
your support is valued.


Shashi said...

What a view... I could relate to the sadness of the person and your last line made me sit up and think... how true... we are all needy of something or the other...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

wonderful emotive poem. an interesting take on the theme of buildings and structures... great job!

Cathy said...

Very heartfelt and up close and real. Before reading your poem I studied the picture and saw, above else, love. Between the man and his dog. Love and then, of course the orientation of that love in our modern world's often harsh surroundings...

emily wierenga said...

i love this. how you make us see. how you force us to find ourselves on the streets, in their shoes. thank you friend. don't stop.

Joybird said...

But if feelings of discomfort rise within you - then at least you have begun to understand my state.

I really like this line. It changes my perspective. Yes, I need these words.