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My small cardboard house

Daria, who is a student at Eaton Square School near St James’s, has written an award-winning poem about homelessness at Christmas. The poetry competition was judged by Stephen Fry, and this poem was commissioned as the first in an annual series for the St James’s Christmas for All Gala Concert.

My small cardboard house

never really feels like home.

Not in spring, when the daisies bloom and the birds come home

Not in summer, when the sun shines strong and the children roam

Not in autumn, when the orange invades and the tree leaves fall.


But when I see the glowing lights and choirs and carols,

The mistletoe and the folks sending letters

To people they love, they cherish and care for

My small cardboard house cannot compare.


I try to make friends with the voices in my head

So maybe this Christmas, I won’t feel upset

But people walk by like I don’t even exist

Like I’m just a shameful, sitting disgrace.


My small cardboard house does so little to shield me

From the stares and pitying looks that greet me

My worn out sign, pleading for help

Sits there, ignored.


“Yes sir, sorry, I’ll go somewhere else”.


But this is normality, my daily reality

The Christmas I remember was spent in harmony

Eating lots of food with friends and family.

The Christmas I remember was full of miracles



And every year I pray for one. My dear listeners,

go home and hug your loved ones, appreciate your spouse,

Someday perhaps I will move out of my small cardboard house.