Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Vyse Ave., Bronx 1980 (source)
(I grew up in the South Bronx but left in my '20's.  When I returned my family told me about a lady who took in some of the at-risk neighborhood youth.  She did this out of the kindness of her heart. I never knew her name, but she came to mind as I respond to today's prompt of saintliness at Poets United.)


A long time ago,
a poor, elderly woman alone
lived in a small apartment
in a huge city criss-crossed
by mean streets, 
roamed by a fear
that crept into the criss-crossed 
minds of myopic souls 
unable to see 
beyond artificial light.

She took them in,
a few at a time.
Fed them her wealth,
richer than food.
When they left
at least they knew
most prisons exist
only in our minds.

While she lived
and after death
she was canonized.
Not by any institution,
but by consensus
of a neighborhood
so gratified
that she had done
all she could to guide
those sons and daughters lost
in the web of their own lives.


  1. Oh Myrna, that's the true spirit of compassion and humility that we need more of, in our troubled world. I do hope the community has continued the work that this woman has done, of true love, for her fellow human beings. Thank you, for sharing this positive poem.

  2. Wow! Surely a folk saint if not a canonized one. I think this is exactly what Pope Francis was talking about.

  3. Such a burst of positivity in this poem.
    Beautifully penned.

    Lots of love,

  4. Oh Myrna, the first thing I have to tell you is watch the movie Brooklyn is set in that city in the 50's, the story if an Irish immigrant......a lovely lovely movie about a simpler time.

    The woman in your poem did EXACTLY what true compassion dictates - reaching out to those in need and trying to supply what they need, one to one.........what a wonderful woman. I love what you say about when they left they knew prisons existed only in their minds. That is key, and very wise.....she gave them so much more than shelter and food - she gave them hope and dreams. Wow. Makes me want to do more.......thank you for this.

  5. She was a saint of her neighborhood, helping where she could make a difference. A great story and a reminder that yes, one person can make a difference.

  6. Yes... the definition of a real saint. We never know their names,they receive no accolades,nor would they want them, and are very very rare.Sadly, in a lot of cases, the people they help forget about them as well.Loved this poem.

  7. This is truly beautiful - and a powerful reminder that while we read about the ugliness, good keeps going. Thank you. And her.

  8. I am sure there are a few lesser known saints that ask no reward but merely know the right thing to do. This is a great reminder that even we can be little saints too.

  9. Brilliant, the summation in you last stanza hit me like a brick. Veneration comes not from institutions and procedures but from the hearts we have touched.

  10. This is the kind of saint who counts - too many people say 'if only someone would help' - very few just do it - a beautiful tribute to a woman who will always be remembered i am sure

  11. This woman was indeed a TRUE saint! Just a beautiful story, Myrna!

  12. she was canonized.
    Not by any institution,
    but by consensus

    She was unheralded but in our heart of hearts we know she was the genuine saint.Very true! Likewise she did not expect to be recognized or rewarded but was satisfied with the results she achieved. Little it might seem but big to her. Not many of them around though. Great thoughts Myrna!