Street Corner Majesty is the name of a wonderful book of poetry by David Harris. Seekers Church has connections to David through several of the missions we support including Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place.
by Sandra Miller
Street Corner Majesty is the name of a wonderful book of poetry by David Harris. I was privileged to attend the event that launched the book on July 13th, 2009 at Church of the Pilgrims here in DC. I know David through his role with the National Coalition for the Homeless Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau and my position as coordinator of the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon Campaign on behalf of Silver Spring Interfaith Housing Coalition. Seekers Church has connections to David through several of the missions we support including Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place.
David works with the many volunteers that come through The Pilgrimage at Church of the Pilgrims facilitating their reflection on their time in the program through poetry. The Pilgrimage program made possible the publication of David’s Street Corner Majesty for which I am very grateful. I find the poems stunningly beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful. A selection from the book is often the last thing I read before going to bed at night.
Street Corner Majesty tells the story of several years in David’s life as he moved from homelessness to self sufficiency that encompass his experiences with those who mentored his gift and those whom he has mentored. For me, one of the most wonderful things about this book is that it so poignantly illustrates that homelessness bears many faces. It shows that people are not defined by their circumstances, do not fit into the culturally prominent stereotypical image and most importantly are not “the other”; they are you and me.
The title poem from the book is quoted below with the generous permission of the author, David Harris.
Street Corner Majesty
Look at her-
she is regal
in her threadbare second-hand coat
and church lady hat
garlanded with bright feathers,
the queen of her street corner.
She sweetly smiles and sings
for harried rush-hour passersby;
a few drop coins,
most glance away,
disgust, guilt, or a twinge of fear
stamped on their hardened faces.
A curious traveler
with a moment to kill
stops to chat, and discovers
she has a tale, a life
beneath the veneer
of city grime
and corrugated skin.
She is a mother;
her children are in places
of wealth and power;
precisely surgical hands
bear the power of life and death.
She is an artist;
she paints intricate portraits
of passersby who stop long enough
to be exposed for the camera of her eyes.
She is a lover;
a lonely man’s fantasy
of silk, lace
and kisses raining down on him
like softly brushing feathers.
Twilight gently lands
on her corner of this earth;
she stands and trundles away
her rolling suitcase,
not bound for the alley where she lives
but for Paris in the spring
where she will pluck colorful blossoms
to adorn her crinkly hair. © David Harris
If you would like to read more of David’s work and support him you can purchase Street Corner Majesty locally at The Pilgrimage of Church of the Pilgrims in DC or from the usual on-line sources.