Sunday, March 11, 2012

Self-Imposed Barriers

My View
Slumped over the bench,
white towel on his head.
dirty clothes,
a stuffed backpack.
Is he homeless,
living on the streets,
on drugs?
I wonder if
he's going to ask for money,
Should I buy him  a hotdog
while I'm buying lunch
for my friend and our kids?
Or will he refuse,
only wanting money
to feed a habit.

The View of the 5-Year-Old Child 
Hey, there's a man
with pigeons surrounding him,
he looks silly with that towel on his head.
Is he feeding the birds?
I'll go see.
The birds are gone.
Mom says we scared them away.

I'll go play.
Hey, that man has a bag with food,
he's feeding the pigeons.
I'll go sit with him.
Hi, my name is M--.
Thanks for the food.
We sit.
Feeding the pigeons together,
with the food in his plastic bag.
That's my mom.
Oh, thanks for sharing your food.
See ya.

My View Now
Why does it take a five-year-old child
to reach out to someone
with no walls, no barriers,
to be an instant friend?
Strangers for only a moment.
Maybe the will and love
and friendship of children,
could make the homeless long
for a home,
a family
and people to love.

Why does it take a five-year-old child
for me to step outside myself,
recognize my judging eyes
and see beyond my
 barriers of
freeing me
to love.


  1. This reminds me of a picture book I read last year about a boy who lost his teddy bear and a homeless person who found it - can't think of the title. You are a busy poet. I love your poem about why you write.


      This is the book. One of my favorites

    2. Really? I am a poet? I am a poet. I am a poet! I feel so affirmed. I really thought I was tossing around words with the endings of lines looking like poems. I feel like a poser---a poemser (LOL). Thanks for helping me find my inner poet!

      I will check out that book, soon. Maybe I can dive into fiction one of these days...

  2. Just love what you've done her with perspective. I reread a second time flipping back and forth with each line from your view to the child's view -- and think it makes a really strong 2-voice poem. I don't know if you've read many of those, but this definitely made me think of them! Very well crafted -- I enjoyed the read tremendously.

    1. Oh, fun! Yeah, Joyful Noise. Too cool. I could hear it read--great idea!

  3. I was able to imagine the two perspectives like a movie and I love the way that you able to switch poetically between the two!

    1. I switched poetically? I switched poetically. I switched poetically!


  4. I loved the two perspectives and the questions you ask yourself at the end. Why can't we be more accepting of someone who is different from us?

  5. I appreciated the way you sandwiched your son's perspective between your original and changed perspectives of the man he befriended. You ask important questions at the end of your piece. Something for us to all think about deeply.

    1. The neat thing is the little girl in my poem was not my little girl, but a girl I had just met, a daughter of a friend. That made watching her interaction all the more powerful.

  6. Wow-- like Stacey, I really liked that you put your son's point of view between your before and after. It really told a story! And the questions at the end---will make me think a lot today...

  7. What a meaningful poem - like everyone else, I loved the way you structured this, and that last stanza is powerful.

  8. Love the perspective of this piece--riveting. Thanks for reminding me to stay open.

    1. I will have to use the word "riveting" when commenting on my students' writing. I love it---riveting! Thanks.

  9. You mentioned the inspiration for the slice the other day, right? I love seeing how that initial thought evolved into this!

    1. A-ha...this came from thinking too much. I need a place for my thoughts. Yes, this is it...

  10. Strong images with a few words.

    Nice sandwich of perspectives, and interesting graphic at the end of the poem. The movement suggesting a breaking away from the negative words above.

    1. Breaking away from the barrier...nice. I saw the barrier bud didn't see the breaking away. I like the thought!

  11. I love this Slice of observance and understanding. Often the child leads us to wisdom, breaking through all the trappings of this adulthood. Thanks for sharing and thanks for inspiring me to try poetry for my slices.

    1. True Margaret. How true. Must write to keep from being entrapped...must write...

  12. Loved the shape at the end of the poem and how you told it from two perspectives.

    1. I didn't know about the shape--wanted it to be like a barrier of sorts...I'm glad you noticed it.

  13. I really love your poem! It is profound!

    1. Isn't it in the most simple actions that we find some of the most profound meanings?

  14. I really felt this slice. I was with both you and M, could hear myself being both "characters" in this scene. I love the reflection at the end.

  15. Writing from perspectives is a great exercise, and here it yields terrific results.

    If we listened more to children, the world would be better. Instead we use "children" and "kid" like almost derogatory terms in a lot of contexts. We have much to learn...

    Great piece!


Thanks for reading my writing and sharing your thoughts with me.