Shirley. A poem by Jim White


Rockin’ the world out of her mind as

I step into see what’s inside as I’m

blind & cannot see anything anymore

that makes sense to me I sit down by the

sea how has this come to completely be

all seemed sound as I contemplatedly spied

out of the distant

corner of my eye

rocking the world out of her mind

a dazzling old lady who

wasn’t looking well

but as I drew curiously

closer I understood she had a

story to tell.


One who has truly experienced such hate

hate too late to turn it around ??????????

not a tale of wars & loss’ or vast tragedies &

human error that brought such terror no a story of how

a person can live all her life & living this world

so full of such wonder & so cruel it has cut her like a knife.

her bones now brittle like

little hummingbirds wings her face has drawn

down her eyes are daring & loud

like a trumpeted sparrow in an endless crowd

alert to every unsaid sound.

she rocks in pain her world

insane once again, she’s lost the lo

ve of her past 25 years

her rock in a crashing sea her protection

from you & from me.

how does such a one survive at 65, now & then

when she’s bin beaten down since an abandoned

12-year-old child crushed stepped

on pushed aside to provide at her expense

sunflower gardens & houses with a den

she was a throwaway child who was dropped on Vancouver’s

infamous east side & grew up fully on the street living like

a wolf in the wild.

how can those now

who passed her by cannot look but with

guilt in their eyes for the pain they

have caused all due to ignorance & looking to their own

needs, feeding their grown greed at this child’s

expense & now that she’s old she’s

surprisingly still around though you

you who tossed her aside are cowering in corners

terrified she survived.


she’s not over yet & she refuses to forget

what’s been done the pain for someone

else’s gain the life on the street which

wasn’t so sweet as she traded sanity to

exist while her mind became

mist as she tried to survive this

world which had showed no

hope of anything but trying to stay alive


it would’ve been easier

to just pull the plug & say

fuck it to you all &

lay down on a cold damp urine stained street,

take one last overloaded dagger which made the misery



‘then I met Jeff’

the one she just lost the

only thing which brought her back

from the dead comforting her head as she lay

It down on his soothing lap, comforting compassionate

she snuggled simply like a cat in a nap safe & secure

from the world that had

never given her a thing other rain ripped stocking’d feet

a world of horror had conjured up her mind that

tortured her every time she awoke as the policeman spoke,

‘move on move on can’t stay here the respectable citizens demand that I clear

you out of here, they fear you like a terrifying vixen ‘

you’re woken up in the

rain & make your way to the

closest dry spot dripping spots in your young

eyes terrified wet masquera black slipping sliding round your tears

everything’s wet hard to forget such a morn your mind in a storm

you cry out in vain it’s fucking insane but

no one hears you you have no name.


then you fall in love with a street

Guru who shows you compassion who

spreads his arms open wide

scalded in sorrow searing in pain

you climbed up inside.

then after some years of drying

your tears he’s taken

away to the world

he’s spoken of with such love,

A soft dove soaring through the above

tis not your turn, though you

yearn to be with your love

your time not yet to be, work to do

so what happened to you

won’t happen perpetually

to some other one.

so you stay

behind to fight with

your broken body bound to

stay around until some one any one

will just sit down & listen.

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