December Poetry of the Spirit

This poet connects/ the one word "gather"/ with the Quaker faith/ as in geese gather/ at lake's edge before/ the V-flight south,/ as in snowflakes gather,/ mounded on roof tops/ before the downward slide,/ as in two homeless men/ gather around a steam vent/ on a city sidewalk.

A Nuanced World

by Carol Denney

I’m angry

but I’m always the one

who cleans up the broken glass

and sweeps up the wreckage

unleashed on a helpless neighborhood

after another injustice


I’m angry

but I’m the one who sits

in court with the people

who were arrested

for just watching

someone torch the yarn store


I’m angry

but I’m always the one

after Ferguson or Fruitvale

called for a sound bite

to explain the predictable vandalism

pasted blindly across

a nuanced world



by George Wynn

He feels the breath

of January’s wind

and recalls a

street companion

who no longer

has to worry

about being damn

cold a long time

found dead on

San Francisco

downtown pavement

a book of poetry

in hand.


They both used to

wonder what might

be gained or lost

by going inside?


The ache in his

neck bones all

the way to

his toes tonight

tells him at 70

the shelter’s waiting

like it or not.



The One Word

by Claire J. Baker

This poet connects

the one word “gather”

with the Quaker faith


as in geese gather

at lake’s edge before

the V-flight south,


as in snowflakes gather,

mounded on roof tops

before the downward slide,


as in two homeless men

gather around a steam vent

on a city sidewalk.



For A Blind Street Person

by Claire J. Baker

Bent shadow, once did you race

the wind to reach your lover,

singing to him of spring?


It’s Christmas Eve in rain.

Crowds rush by, ignore your sign



No one drops a coin.

Always you smile, as if

you can see the street neoned


red, yellow, blue, gold —

colors reflected into

your empty bowl.


A Life Consecrated to Compassion and Justice

On the bleak streets of the Tenderloin, a sister took a stand against inhumanity. Her solidarity was inspired by the beatitudes and consecrated to the poor.

The Invisible Natural Cathedral of People’s Park

Builders, please go away. Allow the beauty of an Invisible Natural Cathedral to remain, a living shrine of open space that gives refuge to all people.

Street Spirit Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin

This atrocity was happening in a very wealthy city. It was happening right under our noses. It was very visible. And there was not the united voice of the faith community speaking out. That was the spark of Religious Witness. From that moment, I knew what I had to do.

Interview with Sister Bernie Galvin, Part Two

“What’s forming in my mind is Jesus in the temple when he became angry at the unjust and very exclusive systems of society. That is the very reason that there are the poor and the marginalized. It is not enough just to provide food, clothing and housing.”

‘Such Is the Magic and Spirit of People’s Park’

The mayor has no understanding of the awful defeat the loss of People’s Park would be. No comprehension of the cost in lives and the sacrifices people have made for the Park’s ideals. So many still find it a refuge in a country needing a political and spiritual overhaul.

I Remember Who I Am

“And Now Where?” Lithograph by Rockwell Kent

By and by, I calm down. I meditate. I pray. It is a beautiful day. The sun is setting. I weave my way toward the spot where I sleep, where nobody knows where to find me. I look to the stars, and say my prayers to the God who believes in Me.