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.