Follow Me!

follow me

Soon winter will begin to rear its snowy head

and I will heave a sigh; it’s the season that I dread.


Not because I hate the snow and not because of ice.

We pay tribute to the gods with a homeless sacrifice.


I’ve carried many a sign that named some homeless soul.

Who died for lack of care; and for whom the bell will toll.


They’re put out on the streets and told to sink or swim,

they’ll only get a thought over turkey, we will trim.


As the holidays approach, we’ll volunteer our time,

then off to hearth and home to quickly shed the grime.


I’m told to keep my spirits up and scream a battle cry.

I scream it for the homeless; who from the cold will die.


There are days when like a battery, I am fully energized

And then there are the days when I’ve often agonized,

over how we came to this and where do we go from here.

Pick up the torch and join me; ignore the ones who jeer.


There are those who are imprisoned and will never see their home.

I pick up the torch for you; it’s as heavy as a tome.


Pick up a torch and follow me; this is no time to rest.

The world must know we care and that a heart beats in our chest.


Written by,

Shelby I. Courtland

© 2013 Shelby I. Courtland




13 thoughts on “Follow Me!

  1. No Linda, this one is because I had attended a meeting about the ‘Homeless March, that we have every year in December to remember those who have died for lack of a home. We are desperately trying to bring the numbers down to 0. We all meet up in downtown Minneapolis and we each carry a sign bearing the name and age of a homeless person who died while on the streets and we march for miles until we reach the place where we have a special memorial service to remember them, after that we have a meal for all the homeless and for everyone who attends the service and for all of those who carried signs. This will be my fourth march and the youngest person named on a sign that I have carried was age 11, the oldest was 33. That is where the inspiration for this poem came from because many people do not recognize the homeless until the holidays. And since Christmas trees have already arrived in stores here, I figured why wait and so I posted this one.
    Thank you for your comment!


  2. “In the face of suffering, one has no right to turn away, not to see.” –Elie Wiesel

    Shelby, forgive my flippancy, if you can. I do not take the subject lightly. In my neighborhood, I don’t know how anyone can fail to realize the extent of homelessness — and this is a relatively prosperous Ohio city. We lose people every year to the cold, though to my shame I’m not sure how many; for some reason, that’s not a statistic the city boasts about. Even one is far too many! Physical suffering is bad enough, but knowing that the world does not care what happens to you, not enough to make sure our system meets people’s needs, seems so much worse. In the past ten years or so, it has become “normal” to see people wandering through the alleys and parking lots outside my door at all hours, because they have no better places to be. Most of us do tend to shrug and move on with our important little lives. Just like all the fatalistic folks in India or Africa, who used to appall us by their apparent indifference to the misery around them. Our society is becoming more self-involved and cold-hearted all the time. And not by accident, we know that. Enabling and glorifying greed and selfishness have been so damned good for business, after all.

    “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.


    • Linda, I did not think that your comment was flippant. How were you to know that I had attended that meeting? Yes, you are right that we, many of us that is, think that our little lives are just so important when there are people who die because they have no home. As much as I see it and as much as I write about it, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around that. When I see ‘Black Friday’ ads come out and hear about people camping in store parking lots and trampling each other just to buy the latest Apple product or other new ‘smartphone’ or whatever new gadget has ‘caught on’, it just makes my blood boil. Several years ago, a homeless man was trying to stay warm inside his tent and it caught on fire and he was burned to death. And yet, those insensitive assholes will pitch a tent to buy a product? I swear to god, it just boggles the damn mind!

      An 11 year old child and a 33 year old adult female should still have their lives ahead of them to live and instead, they are dead because they were homeless and the shelters were full, oh and of course, budget cuts! But we’ve got bombs and whatever else that is needed to start wars. I am sick to pieces of it all!

      Thank you for caring. You are not one of the heartless! You HAVE a heart. Bless you for that!!! Take care!


      • OK, now you have made me cry and also scared the sh*t out of me 😦
        I started to read your reply, got to “I would never need to write a single poem” and my heart sank. For one moment I thought you were quitting placing your poems here!

        I had to re-read it several times just to calm my heart rate 🙂

        Always a fan


  3. T.J., bless your ever loving heart! I am so sorry to have scared you in that way. I guess that I should really re-read what I post and think about how it would read to someone else. As much writing as I do, you’d think that I would get better at expressing myself. I owe you a great big apology and in my heart, I know that you are indeed, that person that I wrote about in the previous post, a caring, kind hearted AND beautiful person!!!

    And thanks for being a fan!


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