After I created an image to use in a New Year post, I thought I would write a short poem, prose or something along the lines of how New Year is the epitome of optimism. However, it did not turn out the way I intended, but I decided to post it anyway.

 

New Year is a time for optimism. It is a good time for new beginnings with hope in your heart. For some it is not, because they are devoid of hope. Their souls are empty because they have become homeless. There are many people who are in employment who have to use food banks. Working AND hungry are not words that should be in the same sentence.

For some of those in other parts of the world, there is no end to the anguish of having been displaced from their country. Refugee’s from countries where war has been thrust upon them do not have much say in the direction their lives are headed.

As I write this, my hierarchy of needs are relatively well catered for, but I am aware the dice can tumble in the wrong direction and land badly for anyone at any time, so I am grateful for being in the position I am in.

I will always remember the Welshman that I met 18 years ago who was living on the streets in Bournemouth. He was sitting on the wet pavement and politely asked me if I could spare any money. I stopped to talk to him and he explained the reason for his current predicament was because he had left home searching for work and his funds were completely depleted.

I could relate to his story and empathise with him, because I left Scotland when I was a young man in search of work. He went on to explain that people think he is either an alcoholic or a drug addict because he is homeless and asking strangers for money. He was just a man trying his best to get on in life.

When I see someone who is homeless I am aware that they have had better times, but I am also aware that the downward spiral they are on will get worse unless their basic needs are met. Often there is no recovering from losing your job and your home.

2,627 homeless people have died on the streets of England and Wales in the last 5 years. It is a trend that will continue to increase.

Whether it is people suffering on the street in the UK or refugees in other countries going through hell, the one common factor in it all, it is the mega-rich pulling the strings in the background that are responsible.

It don’t come cheap
When they look like that
So hard to keep
When they move so fast
Soon you’ll find
It’s all for the best
Put the past behind
And the hurt to rest

But first you cry
Then you sigh
Somebody lied
And you can’t run and hide
Don’t be so sad
It ain’t so bad
You’ll get by
But first you cry

Candy Mountains
Streets of Gold
Oh the promises
How they just turn cold
Till the sun will shine
There will be warmer days
You’ll be feeling fine
If you just walk away

But first you cry
Then you sigh
Somebody lied
And you can’t run and hide
Don’t be so sad
It ain’t so bad
You’ll get by
But first you cry

Don’t look back
There’s nothing to gain
There’s no happiness
Without a little rain

But first you cry
Then you sigh
Somebody lied
And you can’t run and hide
Don’t be so sad
It ain’t so bad
You’ll get by
But first you cry
But you’ll get by
But first you cry

This song reminds me of growing up in Scotland and having friends whose names sounded foreign, but they were just the same as me. They spoke with the same accent as me and so did their parents.

I do not know which generation before them landed in Scotland. It may have been their grandparents or it may have been three, four or five generations before that. It really makes no difference to me whatsoever.

We are all immigrants from a previous time.

 

Scotland’s Story

Michael McGrory from west Donegal
You came to Glasgow with nothing at all
You fought the landlord then the Africa Korps
When you came to Glasgow with nothing at all

Abraham Caplan from Vilnius you came
You were heading for New York but Leith’s where you’ve stayed
You built a great business which benefits all
Since you came to this land with nothing at all

In Scotland’s story I read that they came
The Gael and the Pict, the Angle and Dane
But so did the Irishman, Jew and Ukraine
They’re all Scotland’s Story and they’re all worth the same

Joseph D’Angelo dreams of the days
When Italian kids in the Grassmarket played
We burned out his shop when the boys went to war
But auld Joe’s a big man and he forgave all

In Scotland’s story I’m told that they came
The Gael and the Pict, the Angle and Dane
But where’s all the Chinese and Indian names?
They’re in my lands story and they’re all worth the same

Christina McKay, I learned of your name
How you travelled south from Delny one day
You raised a whole family in one room they say
And the X on the line stands in place of your name

So in the old story I’ll bet that I came
From Gael and Pict and Angle and Dane
And a poor migrant girl who could not write her name
It’s a common old story but it’s mine just the same

All through the story the immigrants came
The Gael and the Pict, the Angle and Dane
From Pakistan, England and from the Ukraine
We’re all Scotland’s story and we’re all worth the same
Your Scotland’s story is worth just the same

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