Skip to content

There, but for the grace of God…

April 8, 2018

My following senryu was published in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, Issue 21, on 1st September 2017:



a dark form in the shadows

she coughs again


Paul Beech


Prior to retirement, I was a social housing practitioner for over thirty years, and the work I always loved best was helping the homeless. It was challenging for sure, often gruelling, but uniquely rewarding too.  And I was daily reminded of the old adage that “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”  For it is true: homelessness can come about in so many different ways – unemployment, business failure, relationship breakdown, domestic violence, illness, bereavement, and so on – that it can happen to practically anyone.

My partner Maureen Weldon (a former professional ballet dancer, now a widely published poet) is also deeply concerned over the plight of displaced people. And together, calling ourselves ‘The Free Range Poets’, we are putting together a poetry and music evening in association with Chester Poets, to take place at the Lock Keeper, a canalside pub in Chester, on Thursday 24th May 2018, to raise funds for SHARE, a wonderful charity based in Mold, Flintshire, with a shop in Chester, supporting refugees abroad and homeless people in and around Chester and beyond.

Maureen and I will compère the evening. And our special guests Aled Lewis Evans (the Welsh poet, novelist and playwright) and Morelle Smith (the Scottish poet, novelist and travel writer) will be backed up by ten highly accomplished poets we know well.

I will provide further details in due course.

Have a good Sunday, everyone.


Copyright © Paul Beech 2018



From → Events, General, Poetry

  1. A wonderful cause, Paul. You and Maureen are kind people and I hope your fund raiser is very successful!
    All the best to you,

    • Thank you, dear Betty.

      Apart from fundraising on the night, we aim to raise awareness of displacement issues and the good work SHARE is doing, because the refugee crisis is very much ongoing abroad, and there are so many rough-sleepers on our streets in need of a helping hand.

      Maureen joins me in sending you best wishes.

      Take care,


      • We need more people like you both, and your group, who can bring attention to the plight of homelessness (we have the same problem here). You and Maureen have my greatest administration!
        Best regards,

  2. Thank you again, dear Betty. Much appreciated.

    It’s always satisfying when we can use poetry in a good cause. And it’s noteworthy that every one of our guest poets accepted our invitation unhesitatingly and with enthusiasm, busy though they are. It says something heartwarming about the poetry community, I think.

    With best wishes always from Maureen and me – take care,


  3. It is lovely to read about compassion, often scarce today. I support Centrepoint, my heart goes out to those who have struggle and indifference to overcome, wherever we call home. And locally, doing what we can for others is more intense and rewarding. This all sounds amazing, and again, the best of luck on the night. I found the SHARE site and did a little to help. I will share too on FB, though I don’t have much luck myself lol. All the best.

    • Thank you so much, Anita.

      It’s quite a show that Maureen and I will be hosting at The Lock Keeper, Chester. Our Special Guest Poets, Morelle Smith and Aled Lewis Evans, are simply wonderful. And backing them will be ten brilliant poets, all well known in our neck of the woods and beyond.

      Yes, quite a show, with three hours of poetry, music and song. During the 15 minute interval there’ll be a book stall, as well as refreshments at the bar of course.

      Maureen and I have been working flat out to get everything ready and, as you can imagine, with less than a fortnight to go, we’re getting pretty excited now. We just hope the evening will be enjoyed by all with a decent sum made for SHARE.

      We much appreciate your support, Anita. It’s wonderful that you’ve done “a little bit” to help SHARE directly too.

      Maureen joins me in sending you our very best wishes,


  4. I love your haiku, Paul, and what you do for the homeless people among us. When poetry serves them, to me, that is the best of all; I do also count among these homeless, the many species of flora and fauna that are left with little or no habitat. Thank You, Paul. – Donna

  5. Thanks, Donna. I agree: it’s always great when we can use poetry to help people in need.

    Homelessness is a cause especially close to my heart, of course, having been a social housing manager working in this field and dealt with many harrowing cases. Alzheimers is another as my late mum suffered this terrible disease and spent her last years in a care home. (I’ve run marathons for The Alzheimers Society.)

    But, yes, the plight of flora and fauna facing extinction through habitat loss has to be a concern for all who care about nature and the environment – I’m right with you there, Donna.

    My very best,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: