Poem – At least the night howls

If you’re going to be homeless
Autumn is the season.
The rain is desolate I know,
but in a shelter or a cheap hostel
easier to keep warm than to cool down.

The heatwaves have passed.
I will pack my permitted 2 bags
layers is the key – layers of clothes
socks with stockings under pants under skirts
the waddling walk of those too poor for heating.

I’ve been here before.
When the world ends, I know what to bring
to make it easier to bear;
a box of Lady Grey teabags
a comb
my own shampoo
that smells
   like something from a world
       in which this sort of thing
           simply does not, cannot happen.

Besides, it is easier to be lost and hurting
when the wind cries
when the stars are blurred by rain
water on the roads, dead leaves in the gutters
trees aching in the cold.

All the people may continue
their lives, utterly undisturbed
but at least the night howls.

6 thoughts on “Poem – At least the night howls

  1. Sarah, this is harrowing, haunting and beautiful all at once.
    Several ideas stand out for me. One is that the speaker is prepared for when the world comes unstuck: she knows what to pack. Another is the itemisation of the things thatshe know to pack: the Lady Grey teabag and other things like shampoo from a world that does not allow such things to happen. That is poignant.There's so much hurt too. Another strong concept is the idea that it is more fitting to be homeless in the dark and rain because somehow there's a better match between the situation and the weather, and at least the weather seems to be responding and commenting on the hurting, homeless person.


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