No Sanctuary (Poetry)

29th December 2017
He’s out there — in the graveyard
with his memories and his cat
reliant on the milk of human kindness
but it seems the world at Christmas
is in short supply of that
and the law proceeds immutable
                                and mindless

He cannot stay the clergy say
“it’s inappropriate”
to pitch a tent on consecrated ground
although he tends the flowers
and is useful in his way
he has to go — no option to be found

A few souls show compassion
recognise he does no harm
and the dead have no complaint —
they rest their case ...
but pity’s in strict ration
and the law has a long arm
he has to leave and find some
                                other place

The same old sorry story —
would they’d practice what they preach
those who read the Christmas lesson
                                seem stone-deaf
the bishop’s sleeping soundly
conscience clear — safe out of reach
while the homeless man’s denied such
                                        blesséd rest

Oh, pass the plate at Christmas
for the organ’s on the blink
plus a few more slates need fixing on the roof
but God has ten thousand houses
and what would Jesus think?
He’d weep for us — and that’s
                                the awful truth.