Reflection: I was hungry

This reflection is from The Trampled Vineyard, a book of prayers and reflection on homelessness published by the Catholic Housing Aid Society – now Housing Justice – in 1992.

I WAS HUNGRY

You saw me, I know you did.

Out of the corner of your eye.

You’d just been out for a meal.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I don’t begrudge it.

I’m always eating out.

I WAS THIRSTY

God, so thirsty.

So it was a fountain in a park.

Why did you have to move me on?

Just a mouthful was all I wanted.

I WAS A STRANGER

My client does not speak English.

He was put in a detention centre, then placed in a bail hostel.

This man has fled repression, violence and fear.

Yet when he arrived in this country, he was put in prison.

I WAS NAKED

He looked right through me.

I felt like I was nothing.

Did he think I wanted to be there?

I couldn’t sleep all night.

It wasn’t just the cold.

I was thinking he had a warm bed, and didn’t deserve it.

I WAS SICK

The cough just wouldn’t go away.

Can’t say I’m surprised

– her bedroom’s got mould up one wall.

We forgot about wallpaper ages ago.

I can’t have her in my room, the baby sleeps with me.

… She’s eleven, she needs some space of her own.

I WAS IN PRISON

They offered me a choice – fine or prison.

Pay a fine? I was up for begging –

What did they think I could pay with? Still, I’m out now.

…. Back where I started.

 

The reflection was written by Christine Allen.

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