Guests Share Poetry at St. Francis House

People experiencing homelessness often have few opportunities to express themselves. Our staff encourages self-expression in supportive and welcoming environments like the Margaret Stewart Lindsay Art Studio and the Carolyn Connors Women’s Center. We welcome guests in these spaces to share their feelings in whatever form they take, and listen to their thoughts and stories. Often, guests choose to write poetry that reflects their wide variety of experiences. Nearly all of our guests have been through some form of trauma. Because of this, safe spaces play an important role in helping our guests form trusting relationships and regain stability.

In the Carolyn Connors Women’s Center staff occasionally lead poetry groups that are open to all guests who identify as women. Women experiencing homelessness are at especially high risk of violence, making safe spaces like our Women’s Center even more essential. Oftentimes women in our women’s center will write poems that center around finding sanctuary and safety wherever they can. Here are a few poems written by anonymous women who are guests at St. Francis House:

Finding My Door

Late night trying to find five minutes to yourself

Walking around with a fifty pound bag

Of your only belongings in the world

Looking for just one second alone…

To cry

To laugh

To just try and think

Where is this place?

Keep looking for your door

Where will my door be tonight?

LIDS on Washington? Under a blanket

That is getting my clothes covered in wool and fibers

Behind boxes from wherever you can find them…

In a train station with strangers or

With everyone around you doing all drugs available

And not available easily

Just breathe and keep finding that door.

Enjoy every second you have behind your door.

It opens to quickly

Stay safe above all even if your door stays open.

Sanctuary

A bathroom.

An hour of peace.

A door to close.

Don’t Be A Scumbag

Some people can’t handle this life

It hurts to be who they are

Don’t lower yourself

Don’t be a scumbag.

Moses Bassie, a regular at the Art Studio, uses the space to paint and write stream-of-consciousness poems.

Giving guests time and space to express themselves and listening to their experiences shows that they are not alone and that there are people who care. Providing safe spaces where guests feel heard can be an important step in connecting them with services that meet their unique needs, whether that be workforce readiness training, recovery support, or more. Using a person-centered approach, we make every effort to meet guests where they are at and show that they are safe and welcome at St. Francis House.