HOMELESS POEM by Adelaide Anne Procter
Poetry from A Chaplet of Verses.
ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER – HOMELESS POEM
IT is cold dark midnight, yet listen
To that patter of tiny feet!
Is it one of your dogs, fair lady,
Who whines in the bleak cold street
Is it one of your silken spaniels
Shut out in the snow and the sleet?
My dogs sleep warm in their baskets,
Safe from the darkness and snow;
All the beasts in our Christian England,
Find pity wherever they go—
(Those are only the homeless children
Who are wandering to and fro.)
Look out in the gusty darkness—
I have seen it again and again,
That shadow, that flits so slowly
Up and down past the window pane
It is surely some criminal lurking
Out there in the frozen rain?
Nay, our Criminals all are sheltered,
They are pitied and taught and fed:
That is only a sister-woman
Who has got neither food nor bed—
And the Night cries ‘sin to be living’,
And the River cries ‘sin to be dead’.
Look out at that farthest corner
Where the wall stands blank and bare:
Can that be a pack which a Pedlar
Has left and forgotten there?
His goods lying out unsheltered
Will be spoilt by the damp night air.
Nay;—goods in our thrifty England
Are not left to lie and grow rotten,
For each man knows the market value
Of silk or woollen or cotton . . .
But in counting the riches of
England I think our Poor are forgotten.
Our Beasts and our Thieves and our Chattels
Have weight for good or for ill;
But the Poor are only His image,
His presence, His word, His will—
And so Lazarus lies at our doorstep
And Dives neglects him still.