Marianne Reninger


Unfortunate Soul - Poem by Marianne Reninger

They say, 'PTSD, Alcoholism,
A Druggie,
Don't let him take advantage,
Don't let him fool you.'
Him with his cardboard sign-
Food please, Work please....

But your heart tugs, you
Swallow hard
You don't want to ignore
Him and keep on going.
You imagine bills in his hand,
Sandwich for his pocket,
Maybe a direction card
For the nearest shelter.

They say, 'At least he's free
In this land of milk and honey.
Don't let him fool you,
Him with his cardboard sign..'
And the light turns green,
And we drive on...... Marianne Larsen Reninger

Topic(s) of this poem: homeless, poverty, usa


Poet's Notes about The Poem

Have we all, in the USA, not been there? Should Equality not only be a Goal in Emerging Nations, but wealthy ones?

Comments about Unfortunate Soul by Marianne Reninger

  • Seamus O' Brian (9/7/2016 8:22:00 AM)


    When I was working with the Camillus House in Miami, I was told by one man who spent considerable time on the street that loneliness is actually one of the most painful aspects of homelessness. Being surrounded by a city full of people who choose to not see you. To have no one to talk to while being surrounded by people rushing on to more important things. To be seen as less than human. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (7/9/2016 4:27:00 PM)


    Its a cruel reality, to see those with sever mental health issues and addiction problems become the unwashed that society walk pass or fill them up with cement so the cracks don't show, I know I have seen people in need and at times either walk away or try to listen to them just to show there not ignored. The person speaking in your last stanza reminds me of a time many years ago, I was in a Wendy's with my grandmother and a women came in with a cardboard sign saying she was deaf and needed money, I was about to give her a toonie in my pocked when my grandmother stopped me and said she's lying she's probably a drug addict perhaps she was lying, but how desperate do you have to be to wind up like that. This poem reminds me of that. Stellar work, bringing up issues that some people are afraid or not interested to address. (Report) Reply

    Marianne Reninger Marianne Reninger (7/9/2016 5:32:00 PM)

    I still fight those same emotions every time I see a homeless person. It doesn't go away or get better or get resolved. Just wanted to make people think!

  • Hazel Durham (5/19/2016 9:10:00 AM)


    The people who live in the shadows of life, the forgotten people but they could be you and me, we should always help people and feed our souls to change our attitude!
    Great write!
    (Report) Reply

  • Brian Mayo (3/6/2016 10:44:00 AM)


    It almost becomes a gut-reaction, saying no.- -a habit.
    If your poem does nothing more than make us think twice the next time we have the opportunity to give, you have succeeded immeasurably. Well done.
    (Report) Reply

    Marianne Reninger Marianne Reninger (3/6/2016 10:52:00 AM)

    Thanks Brian. This was written for our new e-book on Inequality and I realized I had a much more difficult time coming up with answers that didn't sound pat and know-it-all than I had to write on Terrorism, which had specific cause and effects. All I could do was state the problem from a U.S.A. perspective and let everyone make up their own minds. Thanks for realizing that dilemma.

  • Edmund Strolis (1/30/2016 1:25:00 AM)


    I have always been amused and somewhat irritated by people that dismiss the person with the sign. It is one thing to not want to give and an entirely different thing to believe that we can presume to know what the person's story really is. Don't let him fool you they say but I am far too defensive and logical and will always demand to know how a person pretends to know that the individual is only pretending to be destitute. I give when I can, follow my gut and I would rather be wrong about reaching out to somebody than to be wrong and ignore them. Wonderful writing and observations on life. (Report) Reply

  • Pamela Sinicrope (1/24/2016 8:46:00 AM)


    This is such an important poem. I am glad you wrote it Marianne. It rings true in my ears. I see this all the time, even in my small town. And every time I see one of those signs, multiple things go through my mind, as you describe. There's a small conflict of sorts that occurs in the mind with each interaction. Yes, equality should be a goal in all nations. This is a poem, that puts you in that situation once again....and you're not given the answer, but your given the opportunity to think...to see how this problem aligns in your conscience. (Report) Reply

    Marianne Reninger Marianne Reninger (1/24/2016 9:15:00 AM)

    Pam, thanks. Please, if you have time, contrast this poem with the Billions poem preceding it. I began t o think that the Billions poem was too slick, to concentrating on rhythm and song style to be relevant, even though it contained important information. Also, think I might contribute Unfortunate Soul to the Inequality ebook. Would you mind checking it carefully to see if you can spot any improvements? I value your opinion so much; also, I think, even though I'm old enough to be your Mom, we sync from the same emotional places....Marianne

Read all 9 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


Poem Submitted: Sunday, January 24, 2016



[Report Error]