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Spare a Thought For The Homeless.

Updated on February 22, 2014

I watched the elderly lady walking along the road,

No, Not really walking. her feet , she could not lift above the ground.

It was more like pushing one foot forward, then the other...A Shuffle.

Yes! That's it.! She was shuffling along whilst bent over her walking stick.

In her other hand ----- a shopping bag.

I wondered what was in it?

I hoped she was making her way to a tiny cottage,

Easy to keep warm.

Or maybe to a room of her own in a house

full of friends or family.

I was to be disappointed.

When reaching the next corner

The old lady turned left.....

I couldn't help but follow.

To my dismay, the road was short.

A great stone wall at the end of it.

No sign of a pretty cottage,

Not even a small apartment.

My eyes followed the old lady to the

farthest corner of this cul-de-sac.

A shopping cart was hidden under sheets of plastic.

She pulled the plastic away to reveal all her worldly goods.

A sleeping bag. A stout pair of walking boots and some extra clothes.

This Indian lady, alone in the snow seems barbaric. Yet how much better are we today with our elderly and/or homeless?
This Indian lady, alone in the snow seems barbaric. Yet how much better are we today with our elderly and/or homeless?

Now she took off her coat, replacing it with a warm sweater from her cart.

She put her coat back on and placed one hand in her pocket,

Then , she pulled out a hat. After pulling it tight over her head almost

obliterating her face, she proceeded to don the boots..

So there she was on a damp, cold road climbing into her sleeping bag.

Her own little space with her walking stick closely at her side.

I wondered what she would do next.....I wanted to pass her a pillow.

As she reached into her shopping bag I saw that it was her supper time.

A bedraggled sandwich she pulled out and ate it, seeming content.

Then she reached into her bag again and an apple she pulled out.

This lady is no novice to living on the street, l thought,

For it was a Swiss army knife that l next saw in her hand.

She used the knife to cut her apple into small pieces

and l could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.

A Swiss army knife! How clever. It means she has not only a knife, but scissors,

A screwdriver, bottle opener..........and more.

She has something to cut her food but she also has a weapon.!.

Everything she needs for living in her tiny place on this tiny street.

My image of elderly ladies sitting in rocking chairs, with grandchildren

running around , a warm hearth, a hot meal...........that image now disintegrated.

How naive l was to think the way l did.

Millions of people have no family to care from them.

So many have no-one at all.

I wanted to help but did not know how.

I recalled my early mornings at the harbour

Where l met a sun-brown, wrinkled sailor.

He was always sleeping on the beach or in a shop doorway if the night was breezy.

But that was a few light years ago in my past. In a land of warm weather.

That man was happy.

Here, The cold weather can kill!!!.

What do l do? How do l help?

How many more are like her?

As l walked away, the elderly lady

had cuddled into her sleeping bag

Stuffed some newspapers in it with her,

and looked almost content as she closed

her eyes with her walking stick close to her chest.


Submit a Comment

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    4 years ago from Great Britain

    Yes l agree. Sad state of affairs in a rich world.

    Thank you very much for commenting always, l appreciate it.

  • mckbirdbks profile image


    4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

    Hello Dim - Your writing gives a crisp snapshot of a poignant problem here in the U.S. and England. We do not here much about the homeless in England here in the State. We are too busy ignoring our own problems. Out problems are created from waste, fraud and greed and we are passed the point of disgrace.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    4 years ago from Great Britain

    I don't think enough people recognise the problem. You've outlined it well in your comment.

    Thank you so much for the encouragement and for sharing this.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    Superb hub, Dim. It is criminal the way the homeless are treated in the US. This elderly woman is just one tragic example out of hundreds of thousands. For those who feel that this isn’t their “problem” and helping these poor unfortunates costs too much money or they are on the streets due to their “own choice” (yes, people actually think this), perhaps they should consider this: Support programs help to end this cycle, and can save this taxpayer money in terms of unpaid emergency hospital visits, jail terms in some instances, and detox in others. Local shelters need volunteers in addition to local funding. Unfortunately, they can’t do it all, and often only provide a brief respite from the streets.

    Your thoughtful and poignant hub provides an insight and awareness into what these people face, each and every day of their lives. It should be read by everyone, dear Dim. Thank you! Voted way up and sharing.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    4 years ago from Great Britain

    Thank you PegCole, My husband is always complaining that we send too much foreign aid while there are so many in our own countries who have nowhere to go. Charity should begin at home first, he says.

    I appreciate you reading and commenting. Thanks again.

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 

    4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    Your description of this woman facing a cold night on the street was incredibly sobering and moving. In this nation of wealth and plenty, where we throw out food and waste so many resources and send so much financial aid to other seems downright wrong not to help our own fellow human beings.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    4 years ago from Great Britain

    Thank you, Faith Reaper.

    You are right that we can all do a little something. If ALL of those can DO........well that would be a good start.

    Hugs .


  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    4 years ago from southern USA

    Profound piece here! I believe we can all do a little something, even just acknowledging they are there and a human being. I have a heart for serving the homeless too, as He tells us in His Word that He will not know us when we did not see Him needing a drink of water, food or clothing or a warm place to stay.

    Up and more and sharing


    Faith Reaper

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    4 years ago from Great Britain

    Thank you so much for that wonderful comment, JayeWisdom.

    Pleased to meet you on hubpages

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 

    4 years ago from Deep South, USA

    This is so moving, and the types of sights you describe have too often moved me to tears in my own country. There are too many homeless people and not enough "official" help for them or even government officials (in the U.S., at least) who appear to give a damn about their plight.

    It is left to those of us whose hearts hurt at the sight of the elderly, the disabled, the out-of-work-until-there-was-no-other-choice younger and middleaged, even precious children with no real homes and the necessities that most people take for granted. It is we who care who must do whatever we can, even when our efforts seem so little in such a vast sea of need. We must hope that we are joined by many, many more to multiply that help.

    Thank you, Dim Flaxenwick, for calling attention to the homeless.

    Voted Up+++ and shared


  • Dim Flaxenwick profile imageAUTHOR

    Dim Flaxenwick 

    4 years ago from Great Britain

    Thank you for your encouraging comment.

    Britain too is a disgrace , though l applaud all the volunteers who give their time to help as and when they can.

    I appreciate you taking time to read this.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    The state of homelessness in this country is a national shame that we are all responsible for. They are the forgotten people...the invisible people...and I refuse to believe that more can't be done to help them. Well done my friend; keep raising awareness.


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