Remembering the Homeless on Veterans Day

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by Gary Spina

When Jesus said: “You will always have the poor,” I’m sure he included the homeless.

I’m just a poet, among other things. I write poems and songs both serious and humorous. Many of my humorous poem are ribald and eminently publishable in the various men’s magazines and pulp print. Just so you know I am not a man of reverence or lofty ideals.

I’m just a poet. But in my day, in my travels, I’ve walked alongside homeless men and women, down on their luck, some of them kind of twisted up in their heads. And more than a few were our veterans, alone and forgotten. And, so, it’s Veterans Day again this year, and as we approach Thanksgiving and the winter season ahead, I suppose we should remember those less fortunate than we are. I hope “Homecoming” captures that sentiment.

Please respect my copyright. Thank you.

Homecoming

by Gary Spina

(Copyright 2014, by Gary Spina)

Remember that nice lady, Tom, when we first got to town,
When we’s checkin’ through the phone book for what folks is still aroun’?
And that long and winding driveway, that big house upon the rise,
With that lady with the pretty face with teardrops in her eyes?

She was sure a real nice lady, Tom, but she said we couldn’t stay.
But she wrapped sandwiches in paper, Tom, ’fore she sent us on our way.
Oh, I know you don’t remember, Tom, but her name was Jenny Belle,
Let’s just say that once – a long time ago — you knew her pretty well.

But you’re old and don’t remember much, and I’m not far behind,
And the world is growin’ colder, Tom, and the world ain’t been so kind.
Fer years your brother Bob was sick, he passed on last December,
And Jack, your boy, died in the war, I know you don’t remember.

And we was boys, us huntin’ through that hardwood and the spruce…
But rememberin’ gets us nowheres, Tom – ah, what the hell’s the use…
Sometimes you scarce recall yer name for the ravages of age,
And my Sarah and the child’s long gone – I still curse God in my rage.

Now snow’s a-blowing on the wind, and the skies they’s gettin’ dark,
There’s our old familiar woodlands in them hills beyond the park.
For the sheriff makes his rounds ’bout now, no need to tote that load,
So, Tom old friend, it’s best that we was headin’ down the road.

The night’s a comin’ fast, my friend, the winds they howl and scold,
Let’s wander off into the woods to shelter from the cold.
Yet not so deep so’s we still hear those evening church bells ring,
Those lonesome, hollow peals that sound ’crost the storm-wind’s icy sting.

We’ll settle in our blankets warm ’crost a cracklin’, cheerful fire,
A-listenin’ to the organ pipes and the voices of the choir.
All a-prayin’, swayin’, singin’, and they’ll all hold hands and thus,
They’ll earn their place in Heaven, Tom, but that ain’t for guys like us.

Remember that nice lady, Tom, that big house upon the rise?
Bet she’ll bring sandwiches to church tonight, where maybe she’ll devise
A prayer for souls this winter’s night, a wanderin’ in the cold,
A soul gone crazy in his grief and one that’s just grown old.

Oh, we’ll lay close by our fire, Tom, and we’ll hear the church bells ring,
And the organ and the choir as the cold winds bite and sting.
All a-prayin’, swayin’, singin’, and they’ll all hold hands and thus,
They’ll earn their place in Heaven, Tom, but that ain’t for guys like us.

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