Homelessness has become a global problem, and the following poem by the Thai poet Angkarn Chanthathip (1926-2012) highlights the plight of the homeless.

In the home of the homelessness

1. One window among many

reflects events    mirrors rubbish

a broken roof lashed to its frame

collapsing and crumbling as it struggles on

the crowded world of the homeless

the community of the world could offer

the edge appears    missing a family nearly recovered

the house stays cold   alien   hardship returns

to have your roots yanked out from under your family tree

to wander through different times and places

strength ebbs away    destitution    charity

impressions blur    hardship approaches

one essence in submission   those people

one essence    many differences

fallen    absconded    overgrown    neglected    just 'a case'

the times shift and change    on the move

'refugees' through circumstance

pressure wears you down    constricts you

until aborted hope collides with strength

grit marks fade    never entirely

grimy windows in the heart of the city

exist    go    are   strange    lonely    distorted image

portrait    identity    'ghost'    living

twisted shadow    blamed

the house you can't find    can't return to

the hope that sustains    the dream that warms

under the flyover    pavement    have mercy

image fuses    eroding love

possessions gone    roads closed    promises broken

can't go forward    can't go back    trapped

public place packed with the poor

the centre cordoned off

'refugees' through circumstance

melt into disarray

Sanam Luang Park* trespassed    altered

expands into every corner of the city

2. look around aimlessly    against the world

instinctively connected    release

rubbish mounts    cast offs    abandoned

destitute    deprived    humiliated

looks unsettled like an unfinished house

dream no further than a home

a road    an alley    a side street    like a sign

nothing is what is seen

Translated by Tracey Martin and the Poetry Translation Workshop

Source: Poetry Translation Centre

*Third World Resurgence No. 326/327, October/November 2017, p 68