99 Word Flash Fiction: Renewal


On knees

head on ground

Proud supplicants

Abandoned by the state

Shunned by those who used to care

Once, they were sons and daughters, mothers and fathers

Days end, these sons and daughters, mothers and fathers

Head home to their tiny public cardboard rooms

Public verandahs protect from rain 

grimy, slimy sleeping bags

Possessions few

Chinese bags



A homeless girl                                                             Giving renewal

  A scholarship she won                                           Empowering homeless

              Yet still she knows                                   She trains

                               Cold kills                               She employs

                          Coats needed                        is not a fix.

                                 S0 she sews               this bandaid

                                                  Yet she knows

On a recent trip to Sydney I was met with homeless people by the score. On every street corner was a person begging. Most sat on their knees with their heads touching the ground. Arms stretched out. A container of some type between them to take what meagre offerings were given. Most people walked past without seeing them. Perhaps without care or perhaps with so much they didn’t know what to do.

The building on a corner near my hotel was home to these homeless people. They had carved out their own space with card board boxes creating rooms. Their sleeping bags lay rumpled as though they had arisen and not made their bed that morning. A soup kitchen on Martin Place fed them.  This wasn’t the only place they slept. On arrival at the library for an early morning start one man lay in his sleeping bag, asleep by the front door.

Discussion was held “Do we wake him?” They let him sleep. There was no need for him to be up that early. The library didn’t open officially until 1o. I was overwhelmed. I could give some money but that was such a temporary answer. I was pleased to come across this video on my return. This was what is needed.

She Gets Yelled At For Giving Coats To The Homeless. Her Response? Brilliant!.

My poem is written with the third stanza a V. V for victory as this is what I think this young girl has achieved.

Written in reponse to Charli”s 99 word prompt where she asks:

 April 8, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a renewal story that proclaims, “This isn’t the end; I will go on.” Think of the mythical phoenix that rises up from the ashes; of Cinderella after midnight on the night of the ball; of a hero that faces certain death; of love after tragedy; of renewing life’s lemonade transitions. Go where the prompt leads and own your story; the ones you’ve lived and the ones you imagine for fiction. Stand in solidarity with others to find the semicolons in life that chooses to nurture and not succumb.

Respond by April 14, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation.Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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19 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: Renewal

  1. Ula says:

    Oh, Irene, this post is so moving. Homelessness is such a layered problem.
    You refer to a video, but there is no link. Am I missing something?


  2. Your poem brings home the question: “what can we do when there’s nothing to do?” San Francisco of course as it’s share of homeless, and even the small towns nearby in the midst of Silicon Valley, one of the richest areas in the state, has the problem.


  3. noelleg44 says:

    What a lovely and thoughtful piece, Irene. YOU saw them and that matters.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Charli Mills says:

    V is for victory! That’s a semi-colon that takes on a victorious shape! There’s many who live homeless around soup kitchens and shelters, many who live in their cars, Many who camp, many who ride the rails, many who are displaced among friends or relatives caring enough to offer a room or a couch. There’s an uncounted number of homeless in varying degrees. It’s a complex issue. But we definitely need more people like Veronika Scott who looks beyond the complex layers and creates products and systems that fill the gaps. Great flash poem!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: The Story Doesn’t End « Carrot Ranch Communications

  6. Annecdotist says:

    Very moving, Irene, and I am so impressed that you managed to set it out in a V-shape – it really adds to the atmosphere of the poem.
    Homelessness is a complex issue, as Charli says, but our hopelessness shouldn’t be a rationale for ignoring these unfortunate people. Compassion rocks!


  7. bkpyett says:

    This is an Australia wide problem. I found your piece very moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sherri says:

    Oh Irene, how moved you have been to write this poem, and so cleverly like this in a V for Victory. I was blown away by the video when I saw what Veronika is doing – V for Veronika too! Homelessness is such a complex issue as others have already said and it is difficult when we feel so helpless, not knowing how to help. You help with posts like these, thank you my friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Where is the ❤ button?!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Obstacles: Discover Challenge | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

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