Who Was She?

Written for:  dVerse Poets Pub - Poetics:  "You Want It Darker"
(posted by Lucy)

"We will write a poem about the transient notion of life to death, or topics germane to the theme. With a twist.
We are going to write a ballad.
Ballads typically consist of four-line quatrains with a rhyme scheme in either ABABBCBC form or another alternate of that form such as ABCB or ABAB."

A homeless woman roamed from street to street.
They all looked away, could not meet her eyes.
One man noticed her penchant for sweets,
one woman said 'a drunk', but that was a lie.

Though unkempt with a layer of grime,
her speech was perfect; she was educated.
A large flowered bag that she kept at her side
held all her possessions–meager, uncomplicated.

A story emerged after her death.
She had lost her job, no one to give her a loan.
Unable to pay her rent, she was bereft.
It does not take many steps to lose all you own.


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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23 Responses to Who Was She?

  1. Lucy says:

    Oh, this is so sad. Just goes to show how it can happen to anyone and how you should always treat others with respect and humanity. Excellent take on the prompt, I really enjoyed reading your ballad!


  2. Grace says:

    Yes, all too familiar story. This ending line hits a raw nerve:

    It does not take many steps to lose all you own.


  3. rothpoetry says:

    This is so true! Many have experienced this trauma. Well done Sara!


  4. Ingrid says:

    A tragic tale, and a haunting reminder that ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’ Great take on the prompt!


  5. robtkistner says:

    Say a powerful piece zero but that closing line is insightful as hell it does not take many steps to lose all your own. It’s amazing life can come down to such a small landing said but certainly not unique not in today’s world. Well written kept me engaged good job.


  6. Beverly Crawford says:

    A sad, sad tale. I would imagine a visit to one of the homeless “camps” in any large city would result in many such heart=rending tales. Well written!


  7. sanaarizvi says:

    This is incredibly potent. You describe the harsh reality of the world in this eloquently woven ballad. 💝


  8. I’ve spent a lot of time in a soup kitchen so I know it’s a true story. It only takes one bad break for that to happen to someone


  9. Dora says:

    Powerful ballad of a life that society forgot or abandoned! For so many in the world, we’re just one step away from disaster.


  10. hank77 says:

    A story emerged after her death.
    She had lost her job, no one to give her a loan.
    Unable to pay her rent, she was bereft.
    It does not take many steps to lose all you own.

    A tale that’s becoming a reality with the uncertain impact of the Covid 19. It is certainly turning on the dark side to be darker! Great write Sarah!



  11. Sad reality. The subject is great for a ballad. I like the title, “Who was she,” which we find the answer in the end: she could be us.


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