Writings and Witterings

Spilt Milk


Alleyway Refuge

He scrabbles in muck,
down on his luck,
a sorrowful sight,
with eyes swollen, tight
from crying
over milk
that was spilt
long ago.

He scrabbles in bins
for his things,
searches for food
in places you’d
rather avoid;
get’s annoyed
when offered help
he doesn’t want.

He scrabbles in brick dust,
crushed, flushed, stuffed
between lath
and plaster,
amongst jaws of
wood that splinters
against a darkening sky,
searching, always searching.

He scrabbles through days,
endless days,
tasteless days,
empty days,
and lays
his head down
at night
in a box,

with eyes swollen, tight
from crying
over milk

Polly Stretton © 2012


He scrabbles through wood…by Polly Stretton


32 thoughts on “Spilt Milk

  1. Oooh, ‘eck, I keep forgetting about the time differences … it’s now 07:31 here 🙂


  2. full of pathos Polly…the last stanza is especially powerful


  3. Mm, I do like this. Poignant and plaintive.


  4. Bleak and vivid – I really appreciated it – thank you 🙂


  5. Poignant…the last stanza, powerful! 🙂


  6. Constructed with a nice, tight rhythm. A compelling character portrait.


  7. great sketch of the homeless guy..they have quite the plight…i have a big heart for the cast offs….no matter where i have lived i have found ways to spend time with them…they all have stories…and they are people just like us…only maybe one turn a bit different…


  8. Very sad work. I like the lack of self pity in the character. There is almost a proud nobility to his futile search.


  9. I like the use of scrambling in your verses, specially the last stanza ~

    Vivid description of the lost and lonely man ~

    A pleasure to meet you ~


  10. Polly, I felt my fingers getting dirtier and dirtier with each stanza.
    What a description. Really observed or a combination?
    Quite something.


    • mmm … combination – the pic is one I found online and seemed the right one for this poem – but of course one observes …

      Thanks for your thoughts, aprille


  11. Awful, but everywhere. k.


  12. K, they are … a sad reflection on society?


  13. i wish society made it easier for them to find a way back… some of them don’t want to though.. life broke at a certain point for them and no way to get back to normal…i know about doctors that ended up as a homeless on the street


    • This is part of the problem, I suspect, Claudia, that so many actually do not wish to have a different way of life … but how can we tell?


  14. This went down well at last night’s do I thought. 🙂 So brave being the opening act too!


    • Thanks Holly – it can be a bit nerve-wracking being the first on … I had quite a few comments on this poem and on He Drinks Blood and like most of us use those as an indicator – I did think the poetry last night was well-received.


  15. Regret can be a miserably haunting obsession, which you have described quite well in “Spilt Milk”…


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