Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Homeless Minstrels

“I like to inspire people who are still struggling like I was,” said Arcand, seated at a piano in Ambrose Place, “from being on the street, sleeping outside, going to shelters. Because I love people. I play for people."
These are the words of an Edmonton homeless man, Ryan Arcand, whose spontaneous piano performance was posted on the internet where it went viral;  He died in March.   He had been living in a supportive housing complex for a few months while struggling with a developmental disability, trauma, and mental illness which threw him into the downward spiral of addictions.  Piano was his one positive coping tool, and he was happy that his talent got acknowledged - a rare thing for people who are marginalized.            exerpted from Global News report, March 7, 2018
Homelessness is about more than not having a roof over our heads; mental health issues leave many feeling truly lost and homeless.  It is difficult to know how to respond to these issues effectively; where and how to help.  As human beings, we all , from time to time, jump to quick conclusions about others; We can be very  quick to judge our fellow man without knowing all of the facts.  I wrote the following piece in hopes of bringing the issue into the limelight and possibly generating some positive action.   

Inspired by his selflessness and humble brilliance, I wrote this piece,

 for Ryan:

An enigma stood,
Guitar in hand,
A  homeless minstrel on the street;
With  music playing in his head,
Words and chords came pouring out;
They formed without his knowing
Where the song was going,
What his final note would be,
Who would meet his eyes and see
The dream that he was sowing;

At home within his song he dwelt,
And welcomed in whoever came;
His door was never locked or barred;
Though rains came down and times were hard;
Lost in his own reverie,
He played his spirituality,
Free from ego, free from shame;

We met his eyes and urged him on,
And, listening to his gift of song,
Marvelled at his spirit free,
Winced at his humility;
Touched by tinges of remorse,
That pulled our hearts with gentle force, 
We checked our judgement at his door,
And  gaily clapped along;

A song is given each of us,
Placed into our care;
We cannot fully comprehend
The power of each note that we send
Into a world that needs to see
That we are all one family,
That each voice adds its colour to
One symphony we share..

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