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Memorial Park A Poem

Updated on May 2, 2017

Five hundred steps from my front door

Across vacant lots, around the bend

There in the distance, a monument of war

Not of soldiers with weapons or blood on their hands

No orphans or widows who mourn

But trash and debris, trails of bottles and cans

I rest on a bench where the homeless sleep

On nights when warm breezes soothe the pain in their bones

But yet in their dreams the hurt is deep

I swear I can feel the break in their psyche

From love lost, a tattered life, the good that slipped far, so far from their grip

Sounds of the train rolling through town

Bringing them here at the end of their trip

From riding the rails to search for a meal

And beg for a dime from men wearing silk

Feeling a tear drop down my face, my head starts to reel

Five hundred steps from my front door.

© 2017 Paula

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  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    8 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    I can relate, Ann. But at least we're brave enough to give it a try!...:)

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    8 weeks ago from SW England

    Yes, most people here are very kind and supportive. i've got more into poetry lately too. slightly out of my comfort zone!

    Ann

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    8 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Ann....so nice to get a visit from you! I appreciate the great compliment on this poem. I try to give every genre of writing an occasional try.....Poetry is new to me since I joined HP. Our wonderful fellow-writers are always so generous with their encouragement, don't you think? I love you all! P

  • annart profile image

    Ann Carr 

    8 weeks ago from SW England

    This really brings it home, how much this happens so close to our own homes wherever we may live. It has such poignancy and makes us think hard about these poor souls who have contributed to society and been spurned by it.

    Beautiful poetry, Paula, and so well-crafted.

    Ann

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    2 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    So good to see you, rajan! Thank you for your comment. Blessings to you. Paula

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    2 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    How true this is Paula... One feels sad and sorry. Times are hard. Beautiful poem.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    5 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Looks like my main squeeze! Hey girlfriend. Thanks for stopping by. While you're here, let's have tea!!

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    5 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Frank....So nice to see you! Thanks for the kind comment. I always appreciate your input. P

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 

    5 months ago from Orlando, FL

    Way to go, Effer! I hope to read more poetry by you in the near future. :)

  • Frank Atanacio profile image

    Frank Atanacio 

    5 months ago from Shelton

    heart wrenching and sad but wonderfully written I love it

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    5 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Thanks girlfriend! and I love YOU!

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    5 months ago from England

    I love this poem Paula, I read it before, but its still as powerful as the first reading. and so true x

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    5 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Sounds like a wonderful dream, Honey. I have a very tough time accepting that "homelessness" can be used in the same sentence as "America." It's one of our greatest shames!

  • HoneyBB profile image

    H Lax 

    5 months ago

    If only we could all come together and build all the homeless tiny house villages. It is happening a little bit here and there but it would be wonderful if everybody had a home with running water, heat, and electric. I could picture you sitting there on that bench...sad poem but important message.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Audrey, I'm always so happy to see you & humbly accept your compliments. It does not surprise me in the least, that you respond to your big, compassionate & loving heart. It is individuals of your grace & inner beauty that give balance to our spinning world. Hugs my friend, Paula

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    11 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    Dear precious Paula

    This is the most touching poem...each line tugged at my heart. None of us know the circumstances that cause others to be homeless. I've even heard some say "I'm only one paycheck away from being homeless. As for those who judge the homeless...shame on you! This could be your brother, mother or friend.

    We each have a responsibility to share with the less fortunate. It's easy and kind of makes a person feel good inside.

    I have a place in my car where I keep a few bags of "goodies" for times when I come across someone in need. Each bag contains the following which I buy at the dollar store:

    . Tooth brush and tooth paste

    . Body wipes

    . Lotion

    . Protein bars

    . Gloves

    . Scarf

    . Five dollar bill

    Sometimes I pick up a couple of "Happy Meals" and pass these out. "No orphans or widows who mourn".

    Thank you my friend for this beautiful, sweet reminder. You're the best.

    Love,

    Audrey

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Awww Diana....Bless you and your husband for your compassion and generosity. Thank you for the visit. I've missed you. Paula

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    11 months ago

    You have expressed what I feel whenever I see the homeless in parks and along the sidewalks. My husband volunteers with the local coalition for homeless. He shares so many wonderful stories of hope as they reach out to those in need.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Graham, So nice to see you again. I appreciate your positive comment. Peace, Paula

  • old albion profile image

    Graham Lee 

    12 months ago from Lancashire. England.

    Hi Paula. A lovely poem. So deep and meaningful and yes a reflection upon our times. Leaves me sad but hopeful for the future.

    Graham.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Hey Phyllis...I've missed you and quite a few of our mutual friends. I am not as active as I once was and seem to fall behind too. We all have so much going on in our busy lives and must prioritize whether we like it or not.

    Let's not forget, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."....I never thought that made much sense but as I grow older, I realize we also grow to appreciate the smaller, finer things in life....like how special it is to run into old friends who make us smile. Peace, Paula

  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 

    12 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

    Great poem, Paula. It is very meaningful and emotive. Well done. I have missed you. It is rare now that I get over here except to publish something, but I will try to organize my time better - it has been hectic for me the last year or so. Write more poetry, Sister, I love this poem.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Tamara....Happy to have you visit. Thank you so much for the nice comment. Paula

  • profile image

    Tamara Moore 

    12 months ago

    Paula,

    This carries such smooth rhythm and your meaning is poignantly expressed. It is a wonderful poem!

    Hugs,

    Tamara

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    C.E. Yes....I did. Thanks. In fact, I responded....PJ

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    12 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Thanks so much Dora. Good of you to visit. Peace, Paula

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    12 months ago from The Caribbean

    Lots of images and emotions in your short poem. I feel the pain even while I admire your poetic skill.

  • Au fait profile image

    C E Clark 

    12 months ago from North Texas

    Hope you got my response in your email. Please feel free to contact me any time you wish. You are not intruding. Sorry it took me so long to realize I had an email and to get back to you. Take care . . .

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    13 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Tim...I appreciate your visit & kind comment. My hope is that we all awaken to our social ills and do what we can to heal them. Have a special day. :) Peace, Paula

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    13 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Vee...So good to see you! I like that you enjoy my Poem. And thanks so much for the message. :) Love ya, Effer

  • tsmog profile image

    Tim Mitchell 

    13 months ago from Escondido, CA

    Awesome and revealing. Great Poem! Love the message . . .

  • Victoria Lynn profile image

    Victoria Lynn 

    13 months ago from Arkansas, USA

    Great poem, Effer! It rings true, and I love how you've made it rhyme without it being too rhyme-y, ya know?

    I miss you! I need to start writing again on this site. I read your updated profile information. It's been about 6 years for me, too! Hope to talk to you soon!

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    13 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Jackie......Your thoughts are valid and important....Thanks so much for visiting! Paula

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    13 months ago from The Beautiful South

    Great poem Paula with deep meaning.

    I wonder many times just how many homeless are eligible for something and if there are organizations out there for looking into that? I mean how many of these old ladies and men should be in a nursing home? Hospitals or even insane asylums? I hope the Veterans are on their way to being helped but many I would think could get somewhere PDQ with the right leading.

    But just my thoughts.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    14 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    D.M......You're very welcome and thank you for the lovely comment. :)

  • Debangee Mandal profile image

    DEBANGEE MANDAL 

    14 months ago from India

    A very meaningful, lovely poem. I really loved it.

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    14 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Thank you, Louise....so nice of you to visit....I appreciate your comment. :)

  • Coffeequeeen profile image

    Louise Powles 

    14 months ago from Norfolk, England

    That is a beautifully written poem. And well done on 6 years on HP. =)

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Thanks so much sweet lady. I have shocked myself a few times, thinking all along I was following someone, only to discover I hadn't been!

    6 years sort of shocks me too! How quickly entire years fly by before we barely settle in! Looking back lately has begun to make me melancholy. Especially when one of my sons has a birthday....My first born was 49 this year. If I close my eyes, I still see him clearly as my precious new born....How do Moms do that? furthermore...WHY do we do it?

    Thanks for stopping by and appreciating my poem.....Hugs, Paula.

  • Shyron E Shenko profile image

    Shyron E Shenko 

    15 months ago from Texas

    Paula, congratulations on your 6 years writing for HP.

    I absolutely love your poetry, although it is hauntingly sad.

    Knowing first hand the aftermath of the devastation of war, your poem touches the heart in places that have ben hidden or purposely forgotten.

    Blessings my dear friend.

    P.S. I thought I was following you from long ago and when I saw this I wondered why I did not get notified. Sorry I am late.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Thanks Peg, now if only we can erase this from our society.......Paula

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 

    15 months ago from Dallas, Texas

    This is so deeply touching and meaningful on our forgotten society, whose unwashed and hungry bodies inhabit the benches and underpasses of our world. You've captured the essence of the sadness here in so few words. Nicely done.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    You're 100% Sweetheart!....I wish the whole bunch of us ladies of HP lived near one another. The truth is though, one area simply couldn't handle all that beauty & Talent in one spot!!! LOLOLOLOLO!!! Oh and "humility" of course! Hugs, Paula

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    15 months ago from Southern Illinois

    Paula, I came back to read a second time and it's just as hurtful today. I love your loving heart and your heartfelt poetry...

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Aww, thank you, girlfriend. I've done very little poetry and never really attempted it before writing here on HP. I sure do appreciate your wonderful comment......Love ya, Paula

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    15 months ago from Central Florida

    OMG, Paula. This is powerful stuff! I didn't know you write poetry. What a heart-wrenching example of your talent!

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Linda....Thanks for stopping by!

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    15 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

    This is a powerful poem, Paula. Thank you for sharing it. Homelessness is a sad problem that desperately needs a solution.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Thanks Eddy...good to have you back. Even though I may be bailing soon...LOL It's a very VERY different site from the "old days."

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 

    15 months ago from Wales

    Oh Paula so heart tugging and so real. You have breathed feeling into each word . It touched me for several reasons and thank goodness I decided to return to you all.

    Take care and lots of love from my little corner of Wales.

    Eddy.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Hi Alun.....You truly GET THIS.....as I hoped to be able to express it. Thank you for being you and sharing your thoughts. I appreciate this. Paula

  • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

    Greensleeves Hubs 

    15 months ago from Essex, UK

    Very sad, and a striking comment on society that such poverty can exist, and so close to where people may live in comfort. It's easy to metaphorically sweep problems like this under the carpet, just to not go near that park bench - because if you don't see it, you can pretend it doesn't exist.

    But important to consider, as you do, what goes on in the minds of the homeless. Not just the physical effects of lack of money, cold weather or ill health, but perhaps the tragic memories of a happier life in the past which they now have no hope of reclaiming. Alun

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    15 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Manatita ....I appreciate your input. Thank you & I wish you a good day!. Paula

  • manatita44 profile image

    manatita44 

    15 months ago from london

    Great poetry. You paint the picture well. They fall for the good in us to rise; to awaken the Consciousness ... so necessary to heal the Soul. Excellent take!

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Hi Nell......Why, yes this did come from my heart~~Is there any other way to write? Love ya, Paula

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    16 months ago from England

    Oh wow! Paula! so strong and so true! that came from the heart didn't it? what a great poem, nice one!

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    "living ALONE".....not along....however both are accurate. I'm obsessive about typos! Well OK, typos & a lot of other things.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Well Mike, Thank you so much for the gracious complement. Such kindness has been scarce....living along means I have to boost my own ego & tell myself how wonderful I am. ( I may overdo it a bit~I asked myself out the other night..:) What a bummer. I came home alone...................Take care, Mike! Paula

  • mckbirdbks profile image

    mckbirdbks 

    16 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

    Hello Paula - I have read this piece a couple of times now. You managed to capture a loneliness that is widely known but not relayed with such grace. So many have fallen through the ever widening mesh of the safety net.

    Beyond that, this is poignant, relevant and rewarding.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Larry & Debangee.........So nice of you to stop by with sweet comments! Thanks.

  • Larry Rankin profile image

    Larry Rankin 

    16 months ago from Oklahoma

    Wonderful read!

  • Debangee Mandal profile image

    DEBANGEE MANDAL 

    16 months ago from India

    A talented piece of touching poem . Keep it up!

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Randy, Yves, Flourish and Chris.....So good to see you all and I thank you for your sincere remarks. We have so much to be grateful for, especially wonderful friends....Here's to the simple things in life. Hugs & Peace.

  • cam8510 profile image

    Chris Mills 

    16 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

    It's all right there in front of us and not so far away, isn't it? You've captured the emotion of helplessness of those who observe the homeless and have no clue what to do about it.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    16 months ago from USA

    Beautifully expressed. You have a real talent for poetry. Many people are a paycheck or two away from the streets.

  • savvydating profile image

    Yves 

    16 months ago

    Homelessness can happen to anyone, if fate sees to it to break our hearts. A beautiful poem, Paula. You delivered this piece so well. Thank you for tackling this difficult subject with such finesse and compassion. You have moved many hearts, hopefully to act in some small way to ease the pain of our fellow man.

  • btrbell profile image

    Randi Benlulu 

    16 months ago from Mesa, AZ

    So beautifully expressed and such a sad situation. What a shame that homelessness is so prevalent in our country. Thank you for sharing and reminding us.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Bro, Anne, pop, Ruby, Vasantha & Dora.....For all of us who see this void in society, & know what came before~may we always strive to bring hope & comfort to these forgotten souls, until their lives are repaired. Not one man should suffer in a country of plenty.

    It is never enough to see with our eyes....until we act with our hearts.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    16 months ago from The Caribbean

    Thanks for reminding us that these human beings are there even though we may not see them more than five hundred steps from our doors. God poem, Paula, and very meaningful.

  • vasantha  T k profile image

    vasantha T k 

    16 months ago from Bangalore

    Nice poem, we need to just pray to Almighty to give strength to those homeless and hopeless to bear and hope for the better days and bring smiles on their faces.

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    16 months ago from Southern Illinois

    Oh Paula, this is so sad but a reality in most every town. I wonder how this can happen in our land of plenty? " And beg for a dime from men wearing silk. " is the line that should open our eye's. Beautiful poetry that sends a message, if only ears will listen?

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 

    16 months ago

    The homeless and hopeless are everywhere, whether it's just a block beyond a posh Manhattan street or a block from the beach. Far too many of us shut our eyes to the sadness on their faces.

  • bac2basics profile image

    Anne 

    16 months ago from Spain

    Dear Paula.

    There but for the grace of god ! Who knows how many of us could end up on that bench 500 steps from your front door. xx

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    16 months ago from Olympia, WA

    I think, Sis, this really sums up what many of us feel about the homeless. These are real people, not cardboard cutouts, and each of them had a life, has memories, had dreams, living, breathing souls ignored, forgotten, lost....I don't have a solution but I do have heartache. Thank you for writing this, dear lady.

  • fpherj48 profile imageAUTHOR

    Paula 

    16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Manatita, Martie, Jodah,Shannon, Maria & Devika....I thank each of you for your thoughtful comments. I hope my words will awaken those who are unable to see the pain & the loss, mere steps away from where we have comforts. We can offer so much.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    16 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    It is sad! In Croatia there are no homeless people. Such situations are sometimes forgotten and not even helped. You opened a great topic here.

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    16 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

    I'm sitting on that bench crying with you, dear Paula.

    Your words are evidence of your big heart. Love you, Maria

  • shanmarie profile image

    Shannon Henry 

    16 months ago from Texas

    You made me think of the homeless camps in Dallas that have become such an issue for the city. They forcefully shut one down that was located under a group of underpasses, but because most of these people ended up with no place else to go, despite advocate groups trying to help, the camps have just relocated. It all saddens me. Probably because I have been close to where these people are. Not every homeless individual is an alcoholic, felon, or a drug addict. The issues surrounding them are so complacated; it can't be fixed overnight. Yet people want quick solutions and seem to forget the homeless are human beings.

    Great poem, Paula. A picture painted with a lot of emotion. Despite what I just said and the strong feelings I have bout that, when reading your poem, I can't decide whether to feel bad for the homeless or sad that so much trash is everywhere. But, you are right, it is a lot like a war. The sad thing is so many fighting it are veterans themselves and the ones who should be defending them are fighting against them.

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 

    16 months ago from Queensland Australia

    I love this, Paula. So full of feeling and well crafted. "Five hundred steps from my front door".. I would have made that the title of the poem. Good work.

  • MartieCoetser profile image

    Martie Coetser 

    16 months ago from South Africa

    Oh, what a sad picture! You make me feel guilty because I normally freak out about the trash before realizing that the homeless don't even have a dustbin! What to do about the poor? Down here the government threatens to take without compensation from those who have, and to give it to the poor.

  • manatita44 profile image

    manatita44 

    16 months ago from london

    Yes, life has a sad face too. A vivid tale. Thanks Paula.

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