Homeless Mothers [poem]

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She said she’d lost her home.
“I lost my home”, she said
so matteroffactly self-effacely
not a trace of horror or of irony
(though fire in me was kindled
by those cold one-bullet words).
I swear my eyes have never
been so moist as when
I watched those letters falling
from her crest onto my screen.
I nearly died of shame that
motherhood could spill out
on the street without a covering.
What kind of world is this
where nurture-souls can find
themselves unhomed?
Then, sensing my distress
she said that it’s just life
and… yes… she’s right…
for life has cruelty watermarked
across its page like tigers’ teeth
sunk in a bambi’s throat;
a bite wrought by a spider
with no antidote;
a trawler’s crew washed overboard
with all hands lost at sea;
an eighty-something lady raped
— the victim of brutality;
a woman stalked and hounded
by some twisted little creep
till desperately from some deserted
clifftop she did screamly leap.
So damnable unfairness
oozes out of every pore of life
which makes me wince
and not infrequently it makes me weep.
But when someone as lovely, lively
soft and inly fragile as she is
(I say that even though she often has
an outward toughness act built up
through countless undeserving scars)
becomes a roofless mother
making ends which never meet
I then discover empathetic strands
and want to kick my feet against
the rope which binds us
to the earth and think of roofs
in other ways of infinite more worth
than slate or felt or red and curly tile
or any other style — and so then
in my mind I join her on the sand;
we make a roof of sky and stars
and… Oh look, there is Mars!
and celebrate the loss of
solid-stated canopies and turn
our inner head around
to have an upward face to panoplies
of suns and myriads of galaxies
and in this way we found another view
of seeing home as more than
just a patch of ground
or four-walled place.
Instead home is a state of grace
wherein we find our core
and so much m o r e
and though we still need
shelter from incoming storms
the element which stealthly keeps
all solid homeless people warm
is seeing past intrinsic human norms
— discovering a sacred place —
where we don’t change ourselves
to gauntlet-run in someone else’s race
but (if only!) change the world around us
till its threshold makes us welcome
(says that loudly on the grassy mat!)
in such a way that even rocks
could be our pillows
and our home in any universe
would just be
where we hang our hat.

© Alan Morrison, 2014

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