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Homeless: I Could Be You

December 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Donna Sue Berry, Poetry

for post on homeless: i could be you

I drove right through the changing light
Horns blowing as I went.
I had to make just one more store,
Before the day was spent.


I swerved in time to miss a man
Who held a cardboard sign.
A homeless man, who'd work for food,
Thank God, I'd braked in time.


I parked my ride and looked around,
Then groaned at what I saw.
A sea of cars parked everywhere.
The world was at the mall!


Oh Lord, I thought, it comes again.
The season of excess.
When want and greed are king and queen,
And reign in selfishness.


Then smiling wide I grabbed my purse.
This was my time to shop,
And for the homeless on the street
I had no time for thought!


But just outside the store front door
A homeless woman sat.
She was dirty and disgusting
With a child upon her lap.


She looked at me with pain filled eyes,
She seemed to read my mind.
“I could be you,” she mouthed the words,
“Some place, some other time.”


I turned my head, I walked right past.
My conscience now was sore.
With every purchase that I made
I'd see her at the door.


Then passing by a manger scene
I had to stare awhile,
For the Virgin and her baby
Were the woman and her child!


Remembering that pain filled look,
And how she'd read my mind,
“I could be you,” she mouthed the words
“Some place, some other time.”


With no more thought I turned around
My Christmas I would share!
But the woman and her baby,
They were no longer there.


Just a note upon the sidewalk.
A scribbled cardboard sign,
“I could be you,” she wrote to me.
“Some place, some other time.”


Donna Sue Berry
Written on Christmas 2010


Art for this post Homeless: I Could be You: Obdachlos (Homeless), Fernand Pelez, by 1883, PD-US author's life plus 70 years or less, published in the U.S. prior to January 1, 1923, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Donna Sue Berry

Donna Sue Berry is a passionate writer and poet, wife, mother of two, and grandmother of nine, from the American Heartland of central Oklahoma. She and her husband Joel share their time between Oklahoma and Montana. Her early writing began with romantic poetry during junior high school years; but, not until returning to school at age 48 did her poetry deepen to truly express her great love for her Catholic faith. Proud of her rich Oklahoma heritage and ancestors who made the 1889 Oklahoma Land Run, her current book project is "Catholic Poems from the Heart of a Red Dirt Oklahoma Girl." Her website is

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  • Seeing Christ in others. We are all Christ’s dwelling place, no matter how much we suffer. This reminds of a beautiful music video “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place” by Himig Heswita (Jesuit Melody).

    “How lovely is your dwelling place
    O, Lord, mighty God, Lord of all.
    Even the lowly sparrow finds a home for her brood,
    and the swallow, a nest for herself
    where she may lay her young
    in Your altars, my King and my God”

    It is a very moving depiction of people who near the garbage dump of my city. Watching, it is hard not to be touched, not only by their suffering but also by their joy in the midst of their suffering. I hope it okay for me to post the link here.

    • MarytheDefender, thank you so much for your kind words. The video…so meaningful….the music so lovely. Thank you for sharing! God bless!

  • Marg

    Thank you Donna for your Advent reflection, yes it is important that we take the time to see the face of Christ in others! reading this today pricked my conscience, as I often forget to bring that thought to my heart, therefore the eye to my heart is blocked from seeing Christ in others. So I’m very thankful for the message you passed on today in your beautiful poem, it reminds me to slow down and take the time to see and treat others as Christ would. God Bless you Donna this advent season! I enjoy your poetry, thanks for sharing your gift to us all here at SD.

    • Hi Marg!!! You are so welcome and thank you for your very generous comment. Your words touched me deeply as I was reading. For in my own hustle and bustle, I forget to be charitable to others and miss the chance to see Christ in others…May you have a Blessed Advent season. :>)

  • Vicki

    This was very moving, and real. The juxtaposition of Holiday shopping revelry with poverty really makes one think – particularly in light of Pope Francis’ exhortation on the true Mission of the Church.

    • Dear Vicki, thank you for your comment. Oh how true the, revelry with poverty! So many chances to witness to others through charity and kindness. Even within our own families…maybe the brother or sister sitting right next to us at family gatherings. God bless our Pope Francis, and may God bless you too!!!

  • Marg

    Thank you Donna for sharing your advent reflection.
    Yes it is important that we see the face of Christ in others. I often don’t take the time to that; my conscience was pricked this morning with your blog. It is something I’m aware of and have started to make more of an effort. Thank you and God bless you.

    • You are so welcome, Marg! Seeing Christ in others can be hard with all the craziness we can let into our lives. I find I have to pull my eyes from the computer, cell phone, or iPad when I get caught up in work, family, and rushing around. That old can’t see the forest thing…Thank you for your comment and may you have a blessed Advent season!

  • Late as usual…..well……this one must jolt my conscience never to pass a needy person if I have even a few shillings in my pocket……..never mind what I wanted to buy…….Christ needs those few shillings more than me

    • Hi Mary! I just read your comment. Isn’t it the truth? I feel the same way. Have a very Blessed New Year!

      • Donna, did I ever write here the experience of Charity which I got one Holy Saturday? There I was, driving Downtown to my Parish for Prayers. A homeless young boy, a beggar who sleeps on the Shop Pavements, approached me at a Roundabout asking for a few Coins. And there I was penniless but in my car, dressed in a 3-piece Suit!! I profusely apologized to him that I did not have any money with me……now wait for this, Donna…..the boy looked at me with compassion, yes, Donna, Compassion; then from his torn trouser pocket, he brought out two Coins. A Ten Shilling and Twenty Shilling Coin and told me. “Maam, please take this Twenty Shillings, in case your Car breaks down and you need Bus Fare to get Home.” I was moved almost to tears. I told him it was O.K. We then chatted like old friends; he told me his name and where his Rural Home was. I then asked him if he would be at the same spot the following day when I passed there to go for the morning Easter Sunday Mass. He promised he would be there, and this time round, I was able to give him a Two Hundred Shillings Note. That was the most humbling experience for me. It made me to always remember that I am never too poor to have nothing to give. Because even a kind compassionate word is priceless.

        • Gulp. Well, that made me tear up. What a lesson in humbleness…I liked what you said here-…that I am never too poor to have nothing to give.” How true. Makes one wonder how many times we could have touched someone who just needed a smile, a hug, or even just eye contact to know that they count. I need to change. Thank’s Mary for sharing this.

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