The Vagrant


The press of city traffic passes by
With hopeful eye she watches as they go
More people, should she give another try?
Perhaps another coin to her they’d throw
But none of them would even spare a glance
This ragged miss was standing in their way
‘Till someone special happened there by chance
He stood there wondering what it was he’d say
What fate had driven missy on to this?
No family there to give a helping hand?
No lips to give that fevered brow a kiss?
No arm to grasp to help this wretched stand?
If his daughter was to be in need
Would there be one to give his daughter heed?

The needle marks upon her slender arm
They told him of a desperate struggle fought
He saw her turn and view him with alarm.
Another policeman? Once again she’s caught!
Then silently he took her by the hand
She shivered as she followed him away
In jail again she’d join the vagrant band
Perhaps this time they’d let this vagrant stay
They labored onward through the busy street
And people stopped to stare as they passed by
His shiny shoes beside her dirty feet
His clean set look against her helpless sigh
The shelter nurse embraced this homeless one
The policeman left, another task well done.

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2013 All rights reserved”

“©The above photo image is the property of”

19 thoughts on “The Vagrant

  1. The sad reality of far too many. I am in the middle of writing a song about the sad reality of north-east Brazilian females. One is a 10 year old girl that her father encourages to sell her body for a measly peace of bread. Another is about an old lady, no shoes, sitting on a sidewalk, dirty, a small bowl by her side. Hoping that someone will give a little something.
    Your poem is thought provoking and descriptive of something that never should have been…


  2. This poem brought many memories of struggles to me. I have seen two sides of this kind of situation. Some were met by kind people who helped them and they are better and living a good life today. Others were helped by kind people but refused to stick with the help given them and some are now deceased or worse off than before. The latter are the ones that are so heartbreaking to me. You want so much for them to be better and have a good life but one can only offer the help the rest is up to the person being offered the help. Another terrific write sweet Ian. Hugs


    1. It all boils down to an individuals choice doesn’t it? I’ve read stories about people who have hit rock bottom with addiction and it would almost seem they have no hope. But by some miracle they choose to live a better life and end up not only making a success, but being the ones to help others with their addiction. Others as you have mentioned just continue on their self-destruct course and are a liability to themselves and others, spurning any help given them. It’s sad!


  3. This is so beautifully done, tears brought forward for the empathy shown. How infrequently we turn our eyes to those in need, see our own children, parents or even ourselves in their broken hearts and lives. If only more of us would show compassion.


  4. Beautifully put Ian, and may we not paint the story from the picture before us, but act from the heart as this man did. Thank you.


    1. I wonder what it is that makes the average person shy away from helping those with an addiction. Are we frightened that in some way helping them we will be drawn into that addiction ourselves, or are we frightened that they or their associates may do us harm instead of appreciating our help?


      1. I think folk are afraid of addiction, of getting drawn into something stronger than they can cope with. A soul struggling with addiction can pull others into their patterns, and if you don’t know how to handle that, it is scary.


  5. It is a poignant story, Ian, and yet I know that there is a lot more story behind that destitute person. The dilemma is where to find the right balance between kind assistance, ongoing maintenance, and forcing that destitute person take control of their own life. The greatest challenge is knowing when to help and when not to help. I am dealing with issues like these in our own family and constantly wonder what the right thing to do is. I don’t think our modern affluent society knows how to cope with the dropout. Mere rejection is obviously wrong yet some dropouts may need a violent jerk to bring them back into society. Thank you for this empatheitic look at the problem. Cheerio, Jane


    1. Yes you are right. It’s easier to recognize an issue than it is to address an issue like this. Sometimes after attempting to rescue a person a few times, particularly when it’s a member of the family you just have to let go. We were created to exercise choice individually and unfortunately one cannot exercise that choice for another person without reducing those persons to dependency status. Not much difference to a drug dependency is it? A person has to choose their own path in life, and while we can guide children helping them to make good choices as they grow you can’t exercise that kind of control over an adult. But it will always hurt a person to see their loved ones hurting themselves by bad choices.


  6. A mentor of mine once said – no matter how destitute that person might seem now, remember – someone somewhere loved that child once.

    A sad theme, Ian, but you gave a spark of hope towards the end. Bless that policman – acted like a true father, he did. This is what God made Man for – She came into his life to provoke his humanity – he was tested, not she. He is saved.

    She — she was the mere instrument of God — I would like to think.

    As you do to the Least, you do to Me.


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