A cold deserted alleyway,

dark as a desolate grave,

away off in the distance

dogs howling their dismay.


A winter wind is gathering,

blowing old papers away,

with tired forgotten faces

and news of yesterday.


Discarded cans and bottles

clatter on down the street,

the chill night air is biting

as he pulls in his frozen feet.


So many dull and dreary nights

spent seeking private reproof

as the familiar pitter-patter

sounds upon his cardboard roof.


His heart is filled with shame

and a cold, deep hollow pain…


…and here comes the rain.



In and out of a fitful sleep

his dreams are demon-filled,

taunting him and teasing him

destroying the last of his will.


He hears an awful scratching

and he’s searching all about,

the sight of rats around his feet,

he screams and then kicks out.


Scuttling away in the darkness

squeaking out their complaint,

off to find some other poor soul

to torment and to taint.


Another wretched creature

living life down in the drain…


…and here comes the rain.



Traffic swishing here and there

on dampened tarmac lanes,

home to loving arms and

a fire of flickering flames.


Safe within their warm embrace,

they watch the hot flames dance.

No need for words between them

as they drift into a trance.


Silently they kiss and cuddle

and gaze into each others eyes,

warm, dry and safe inside

each others contented sighs.


But the long distant memories

are all that now remain…


…in the cold and pouring rain.



His body starts to tremble

with a deep and longing need,

the painful image beckons him

and then it slowly recedes.


A sob escapes the willful wall

he’d built to hold it all in,

it turns into a mournful moan

that’s lost amidst the din.


His body is wracked with baleful cries

for a life that he once enjoyed,

so fragile he soon discovered

as he’d watched it all destroyed.


And all he now has to show

for all those precious years

is a glimpse of sunlight memory

between clouds of doubt and fear.


A bitter, painful afterimage

and a slowly sagging shelter…


…from the cold and pouring rain.



And as the slow dawn breaks

he lies motionless and quiet,

whilst out there on the busy street

people talk about their diets.


Oblivious to the lifeless victim

enshrined in a cardboard tomb,

a helpless soul in a world of indifference,

he lost his fight too soon.


The report will say hypothermia,

they’ll tie a tag upon his toe

but the real tragedy in his tale

is that nobody will ever know.


That a once proud and happy man

could no longer take the strain.

He died of a broken heart,

in the cold and the dark

and the rain.



Written by Darren Scanlon, 16th September 2014

Revised 9th May 2015

©2015 Darren Scanlon. All rights reserved.



8 Comments Add yours

  1. loricarlson66 says:

    What a wonderful Narrative, Darren! Sad, but filled with truth… so many forgotten souls like this out there. Thanks for giving them a voice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A sad and tragic reality that many choose to ignore. Cheers my friend.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. SD Gates says:

    Oh my gosh, that is so incredibly sad and moving. I always wondered what it would be like to homeless and out in the elements, but I certainly got a vivid glimpse from your poem. Really beautiful!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Red Sunset says:

    You have painted with words a very emotive picture of the fate of one of the many homeless souls that society has forgotten about. It is a ‘cold rain’ for some, but we must remember, even if we can’t assist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed and thank you.


  4. wilfisher says:

    fantastic portrait !

    Liked by 1 person

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