Photo credit: The homeless dream of a home by Alexa DeWiel

Homeless Memorial Poems 2008-2017

Sherman Hesselgrave

From the summer of 2008, when I arrived at Holy Trinity, until August of 2017, when she died, Bonnie Briggs and I met nearly every month in Trinity Square Cafe to have lunch and to create a poem for the next Homeless Memorial. The Memorial had been meeting outside the south doors of Holy Trinity on the second Tuesday of the month at noon since around the turn of the century. Bonnie and my predecessor, Sara Boyles, had done so before I arrived, and even published a little collection of their poems.

I have been working on a collection of the poems Bonnie and I wrote, so they can continue to be available to anyone interested. We read a few of them are Bonnie’s memorial service. Here is a sample…

Mother’s Day on the Street

Breakfast in bed is a Mother’s Day treat
Unless you happen to live on the street.
Forget about flowers and chocolates, too,
For Mother’s Day on the street, there’s no whoop-de-do.

And what about the kids, whose Mom’s Day it will be,
Who live on the street, in a car, behind a tree?
What kind of future is waiting for them
Even if they manage to carpe diem?

On this day we cherish those dear to our hearts
But on the street, they’re all so far apart.
The street is a pro at rending families asunder
So those who keep it together are a statistical wonder.

While the weather is warmer and the flowers are in bloom,
Mother’s Day in a home beats any perfume.

Bonnie Briggs and Sherman Hesselgrave
Toronto Homeless Memorial, 8 May 2012


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