Chance Encounter

Walking the amazing coastline,
Cup of coffee in the local Café
Sitting, observing people passing
Checking on dress sense today,
Shoes, where did they purchase them?

Spotted a homeless person
Shabbily dressed and looking unkempt
He appeared increasingly in the landscape
Popping up in unusual places, staring at others faces.

Realised BBQ area was his hideout
Sleeping bag, plastic bags neatly stacked
He lay asleep on the grass.
Voices woke him from his slumber
Gave a glance, no words spoken.

He walked the village streets
Locals giving him a wide berth,
Clothing improving, new shoes on his feet
The gossip tree said elderly people made him welcome.

Winter set in, he lived in the cold of the BBQ areas,
Spoke of his life when sitting in comfortable home
The conversation always finished with such a shame.
One cold winters evening near Village shop
Aware of homeless person sitting near
Huddled, sheltering from the cold wind on a street corner.

Decided to approach him enough of wondering
Checked on what money I could give him.
When approaching he stood as if frightened,
Standing close enough to touch each other
Could see the weariness on his face.

Eyes met in silence trying to understand what it was I wanted,
Asked quite bluntly what and why,
No answers forthcoming just a shake of his head
His eyes showed such torment, emotions coming to the surface,
Never or ever again seen such pain behind a gaze.

Reached to place money in a tattered trouser pocket
Reached to shake a hand
His grip was quite strong as we exchanged this greeting
For an instant a wry smile crossed his face.

Realised that he was much younger than at first thought
His face showed his daily survival
He spoke a thank you as goodbye was spoken,
Walked away with his eyes following.


The memories of meeting with this homeless soul
Went on and on and even visited dreams.
Not seen since this meeting
Moved on looking for somewhere else safe to stay.
Positive thoughts of what he was doing
Better than imagining, what life was dealing him?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Topic(s) of this poem: pity,emotions,homeless
POET'S NOTES ABOUT THE POEM
During life's journey, have you come across a person with many titles such as, street persons, homeless sleeping rough. What were your feelings, if any? The above is one of my many interactions with the homeless, my friends comment that I am brave to approach such people. My thoughts are that it could be me.
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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Robert Murray Smith 18 April 2018

John, this is a well penned write. The imagery is powerful with sensitivity and insightfulness. It makes me wonder why we cannot all be as generous in spirit and actions as you have been.+++10

0 0 Reply
Verity Fiammata 17 March 2017

I love this poem, John. I wish more people were brave enough to simply stop and talk to someone who's generally ignored.

1 0 Reply
John Ahern 17 March 2017

Hi Verity, thank you for taking the time to read my poem. Stopping and asking created a poem, long live poetry.

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Kim Barney 29 November 2016

Yes, it could be you, or it could be me. Many of the homeless people have no choice but to be in their situation. I'm glad the you were able to help.

2 0 Reply
John Ahern 29 November 2016

Thank you, Kim.

0 0 Reply
Maveriqué Richard 29 November 2016

Nice write. I love the last stanza.

1 0 Reply
John Ahern 29 November 2016

Thank you very much for your comment.

0 0 Reply