Joyce Chelmo

Her Pilgrimage - Poem by Joyce Chelmo

the first time we saw
her was last fall
she was standing
in a patch of grass
between lanes on hwy #10

over layers of clothing
she wore a white sheet
like mother teresa

this spring she stands on a grassy knoll
just beyond the sheriff’s office
holding a magazine for all to see

her hair slips out of
her habit
like a blend
blonde & gray steel wool

she’s stout
her face is weathered
& rough
paper bags & backpacks
lay next to a lawn chair

day after day no matter the weather
you’ll find her seated there
on some kind of pilgrimage
that noone understands

maybe she’s a test.....

i want to buy her breakfast
but my husband won’t stop
he thinks she’s insane
but i think even the insane
need to eat

Comments about Her Pilgrimage by Joyce Chelmo

  • (5/30/2006 9:57:00 AM)

    A very good poem on the subject, Joyce - like it much. We had our Lady of the Street 'midst Zooming Cars in Trinidad some years ago. Yes, she needed to eat; we fed her. She gave us a blessing. Who benefited most? ... (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (5/19/2006 9:55:00 PM)

    Hi Joyce
    Chop out the last three lines and it's perfect. I've been working with homeless folks for years - my favorite years. Who knows insane from sane? I've learned more from folks on median strips than I have from folks in lecture halls.
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/22/2006 10:48:00 PM)

    Thank you so much Rich, I always feel for those characters. I once
    sat on a city bench and shared my lunch with an old man with a sign
    around his neck saying 'I will work for food.' I thought he was too old
    to work and a little food was not going to break me. I actually enjoyed
    his company, he had a back pack with a bible in it. He said I was an
    answer to his prayers. *smile

    I love your story... I met a few like that in Minneapolis.

    (Report) Reply

  • (4/22/2006 9:31:00 PM)

    I liked the character portrait you paint in this one. We had our harmless lunatic on the Miller Trunk Highway, in Hermantown, where I grew up. He'd be often spotted standing and waving at the cars as they went by. This went on for awhile until he began to stand there and wave with his pants down around his ankles. He disappeared shortly afterwards. His scandalized family no doubt had him institutionalized.
    He might have been hungry too.
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/20/2006 8:43:00 PM)

    Hugh thank you so much, you truely honor me.

    (Report) Reply

  • (4/20/2006 7:37:00 PM)

    Dear Red,

    This is a really fine poem. Not only is it clearly and cleanly written but it comes from the heart and is filled with compassion. Great observation and recording of details and a strong, heart-centered ending.


    (Report) Reply

  • (4/20/2006 2:22:00 PM)

    Duncan after reading your work I am so honored that you would say that,
    thank you very much!

    (Report) Reply

  • (4/20/2006 2:17:00 PM)

    Dear Joyce, the love and compassion in this deserve to be written in stone and placed on
    every roadside, Love to you, you are a fine writer, Love Duncan
    (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 20, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, July 16, 2010

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
[Report Error]