A homeless woman sets up a lonely camp on the side of the road in Santa Cruz.
A homeless woman sets up a lonely camp on the side of the road in Santa Cruz.


homeless person

by Judy Joy Jones

one day in time
the homeless person
waiting in line
for food
will be you
so don’t close
ya heart to
ya brothers
dying in gutters
they are mirrors
of our soul’s
own greed

For the Homeless in San Jose

by Joan Clair

Isn’t there a city somewhere,
where people can live peacefully in tents
and not pay rent, and not be bent?
The light in the heart of a flower
shines more brilliantly than power.

Last Fragments from a

Panhandler’s Journal

by George Wynn

Forget the
word demoralized
if you want to
survive on Market Street.
Forget about where you
used to sleep
before you were broke.
Pray every day
your body doesn’t
let you down
big time when
light turns to night
and you huddle
in cold desolation.
Never stop to ask
did you get what
you wanted
from this life?
Enjoy the simple
the pen upon
paper brings you
and hopefully others.
god made visible
by Judy Joy Jones
can you really
put a soul in jail
for loving
does handcuffing
a 90 year old man
for feeding the poor
put his heart
behind bars
no i say
for to love
and be loved
is ours soul’s purpose
bars are made
by man’s fears
compassionate souls
such as he
are god’s tender mercy
made visible
through our own hands

Outside Our Window

by Claire J. Baker

We spot on a rain-stripped
eucalyptus trunk
colors we’ve never seen
before: shades of yellow,
gold, lime green, tan.
A homeless woman
stripped of an easy life
also reveals colors
when we pause long
enough to sense and see.


No Passport Needed

by Claire J. Baker

Come, let us join
the multitudes
on the journey
toward peace.
We, the people,
motley, memorable,
poised, unprepared,
gay, and not so happy,
handicapped and holy,
yet all the same —
getting out of
our own way.
No tether, weather
or war shall deter
our journey,
our passage.
Peaceably we go,
peacefully we stay.

In The Thrift Shop

by Joan Clair

Lady 1 carries a golden purse
and a dollar bill,
asks Lady 2,
“Will you pay for my purse?”
Lady 2 turns around,
flips open her coat,
a price tag shows.
“Can’t pay for my own,” she says.
“The truth is we all live
in an economic system
that is heartless.” — Helen Keller

A Child’s View of Winter

by Mary Rudge


The sun in through my window when I
wake up makes me feel warm and loved.
I like to wake up and see sky.
But the old, old window broke, we could
not afford glass or someone to fix it.
We have found board and cardboard,
and sealed up the window hole,
because it is winter and we will be cold.
When I wake in the morning and see
darkness, still I know
to feel warm in my heart, to feel loved
because my mother and brother
found cardboard and board.
If we find enough cans extra to pay,
we can have a glass window again.


In winter we only heat one room.
We hang blankets over the doors and
put all our bedding on the floor and
sleep there, together in one warm room.
I like to hear our breath
in the dark, one family
helping each other keep warm.


Today by the thrift store
we said a prayer before we went in
that the saleslady would try to find
something she could mark down
with just a few loose threads or tear
or spot, someone had given
for the poor to buy.
Today mother said
let us put in our mind’s eye
the perfect sweater
with only a tiny unraveling
mother can fix
if we have enough money to buy.


My mother takes us to the library.
We love being warm.
All the colors of books,
words and pictures for free
are there for me,
bright light I can read in,
and the light in the mind.