Never Judge Who You Do Not Know

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

What do you think when you hear the word 'homeless?' Does it make you think of someone who's lazy? Does it make you think of someone whose day consists of drinking all day long? Does it make you think of someone who's a habitual drug user? Maybe so... But what about the Vietnam veteran who became homeless, after sacrificing his life to keep America safe? What about the family who worked so hard to keep a job and then got the roof over their head pulled from under the feet. What about the elderly person who has worked and paid taxes all their life and then is forced to live a life on the streets, rather than the comfort of their own warm home. It's shocking that even in developed countries such as Great Britain and America, homelessness is such an issue that affects so many people and it doesn't discriminate... You and I could become homeless one day. All it takes is one thing and that could change our whole lives forever. We are so quick to judge others and yet, we are never as quick to understand and take time to find out the reason for someone's troubles and why their life has been turned around. We shouldn't judge those who we know very little of. We must appreciate what we have and take nothing for granted in this world of increasing uncertainty. Spare a minute for those who haven't got the luxury of a hot shower, of a fridge full of food, a warm bed to rest their head at night and the security in knowing that each night they are safe... Spare a thought for those less fortunate.

Homelessness is one of those things,

I'm sure that many people look down upon,

Those who seek shelter from this cold world,

Are told to simply stop complaining and move on.


But what is the reason for living this way,

Why do we see people on the streets,

With very little food and very little money,

The only possessions being the clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet.


We see people who's home has become the streets,

Spending their time just trying to survive,

All the while being tossed to the side and simply ignored,

Being mocked for doing what they can to stay alive.


How unfair it is indeed,

That we judge those who we understand very little of,

Who we simply walk by each and every day,

Who many find strange or odd.


We know little of what they've been through,

We know not of their plight,

Whilst we ponder on the evening's meal,

They'll be wondering if they'll have anywhere to sleep tonight.


For all that we know,

They could be a veteran of war,

Who's heart have seen such horror and bloodshed,

And yet a hero, many simply ignore.


For all that we know,

They could be facing extremely hard times,

They could be going through hell,

God only knows the battles they face in their mind.


We are so quick to judge,

Even when we know not of the facts,

While our life may be a happy one,

Theirs might be on the brink of collapse.


What if it was your family member on the street?

What if it was your friend?

Would you still think the same about them,

Or would you still walk by and simply pretend?


Simply pretend that homelessness is not a problem,

That in time it will simply go away,

We cannot ignore something that affects so many,

'Tis unfortunate that homelessness is here to stay.


We must never judge those who we do not know,

For to judge without knowledge is ignorance,

Let us appreciate the things we have that others do not,

Because we could end up in the same situation in an instant.

 -- James William Cooper

Submitted: June 05, 2015

© Copyright 2021 James William Cooper. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


Evelyn Mason

I agree, this is a sobering poem. I believe too many people ignore this as a real problem because 1-it isn't their reality and 2-they don't want to believe it exists for their own comfort. I am often hesitant to read pieces like this because sometimes people can get on a soap box but what you have done here is skillfully written. Thank you.

Wed, June 10th, 2015 4:22am


Hi Evelyn, I hope that you're okay? Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and take a read of my piece. Absolutely Evelyn, it's such a shame that many people simply ignore this and don't really see people having to survive on the streets as a big deal. You're right Evelyn, I think that as you say, because it isn't other people's problem their not really interested until it concerns them, for example if they themselves were in that situation. Then the other point that you've rightfully mentioned, the fact that they simply don't want to believe it's a problem... They'd just rather brush it under the carpet and hope that it all goes away. But the more we try and ignore it, the more of a problem it becomes. I'm shocked at how we as developed nations, have people on the streets and living rough. It sickens me how people are treated and just ignored and blamed for being on the streets, especially those who have fought for our country's safety and in return end up being made homeless with absolutely no support whatsoever. Your words are kind indeed Evelyn and I'm glad that you took the time to read this poem. I'm glad that it didn't come across to you as a soap-box speech. Take great care Evelyn and have a wonderful day. :) Apologies about my delayed response by the way.

Wed, June 10th, 2015 12:12pm

Casper Lasha Freed

Hi, James. It has been quite a while since I've read your work on here. I pray all is well. This poem is such an eyeopener for anyone who reads. It is a sad and horrid truth that homelessness will not cease. To have nowhere to turn to is a wretched point in anyone's life. If a child's wishes could be granted, there would be not one man, woman, or child without a place to call home. It is also an awful truth that people look down upon the homeless without a second thought..without even wondering of the reasons that person is without. It is a cruel world that we live in. Even with eyes so young as my own, the vision of the world's state is agonizing. I can't imagine the way those older than I must feel. Empathy is key to your poem from my point of view. Sympathy comes thereafter. If people could obtain just a small portion of empathy for those who are homeless, it would shed an enormous amount of light into their shadowed eyes. Then, if they could only hold a slight feeling of sympathy for those same souls, maybe, just maybe we could find an end to all the suffering of those less fortunate than ourselves.

Wed, June 24th, 2015 11:15pm


Hi Cassie, I hope that you're okay and have been keeping well? It sure has been quite a while indeed since we last spoke. At the moment all seems to be going well at the moment thank you for asking, I hope that everything is going well for you too? :) I'm honoured by your kind comment Cassie and by the fact that you see this as an eye-opener for those who choose to read it. You're absolutely right, it is sad indeed that homelessness will forever remain, that we cannot simply click our fingers to make those who are less fortunate somewhere where they feel safe and secure, which everybody should have the right to... The right to be and feel safe and secure. I cannot even begin to imagine what the feeling of being homeless is like and it wouldn't be right of me at all to say that I understand what people who are homeless go through because I don't... But I can only begin to imagine that it cannot be very nice at all. Not knowing where you'll be sleeping tonight or not knowing if you'll be getting food to keep you from going hungry. There are so many dangers that homeless people face and it's just not right at all. The fact that as your rightfully mention, most have no-one to who they can turn to for advice and support and it's not the way it should ever be. Everyone should have someone who they can rely on and trust and have as a friend when life becomes daunting. I couldn't agree with you more Cassie, if only such a wish could come true... How wonderful and fair this world would be! If only everyone had the chance to a safe, secure place they could call their own. How unfair this world really is. Even in developed nations like Britain and the US, I cannot believe that there people who are made homeless... It's shocking! Again you're absolutely right Cassie and it's such an unfortunate truth... That the homeless are looked down upon without even a single thought by passers-by. It does really make you think, especially when you see a homeless person trying to survive out on the street, whilst we are fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads and hot water and hot food each night. It isn't fair to see anyone out on their own on the streets, it's horrible. You're right about that Cassie, as you say I think that people don't seem to give thou8ght as to the reason why that person is homeless. We judge people far too quickly, without even knowing the facts first and it should never be like that... But society will always judge those who it never understands. It is a cruel world that we live in indeed. Even to hear of how the Vietnam veterans returning home from the Vietnam War were not welcomed as heroes, but seen simply as nothing and just thrown to the side. Even though it was a war that cost thousands of innocent lives and one which was fought for nothing, both on the Vietnam and American side, those soldiers fought for their country and yet they were tossed to the side and left to fend for themselves... How disrespectful is that!? To have veterans who have served their country and risked their lives coming home to absolutely nothing. No help, no aid, no shelter no nothing. That to me is appalling. The world is in an extremely bad state I'm afraid Cassie and without sounding pessimistic, it doesn't look like it'll be getting better anytime soon. I think it's extremely important to have empathy for others Cassie, especially when it comes to talking about issues like this and I really wanted my piece to be empathetic. It's all about being considerate trying to get an understanding into the idea of homelessness and the fact that we cannot and should not make assumptions simply based on what we see. If we were to get to know and understand a homeless person, I bet they'd have some stories to share. The fact of the matter is, is that homelessness can happen to anyone, it's not just something that is restricted to a certain group of people. Business managers, consultants, CEO's can all become victims of homelessness. I couldn't agree with you more Cassie and you said that beautifully. I agree, that if people could just have some empathy for the plight of others instead of simply turning a blind eye to what is happening, then I think it would mean the world to those who have to face being homeless each and every day. I think it would help to make their dark days a little brighter, knowing that there are people out in the world who do empathise with them and who don't just look down upon them as a second-class citizen because they're not. They're still a human being with a heart and a soul, with dreams and desires just like you and I. It would be absolutely wonderful to finally find an end to those who have to suffer and those who are less fortunate than we. Maybe one day, the suffering of those less fortunate will come to an end and they'll have the same chance that many of us are lucky to have. I love your maturity and your empathetic character Cassie, if only there were more people like yourself who cared. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and have a read of my poem Cassie, I really do appreciate it. You take great care and all the very best to you. I'll be sure to have a look at more of your works too, I haven't forgotten. :) Have a wonderful day. :)

Thu, June 25th, 2015 3:14pm


This is very sobering, and reflects a part of humanity that is at its saddest and coldest. Part of me feels homeless when I cant get a job, and I cant buy those things that I want to spend hard earned money on. This is one of your most truthful poems yet, and the message has clarity, because you make us think, and you have done a worldly wondrous job in trying to get people's attention."That we judge those who we understand very little of, Who we simply walk by each and every day, Who many find strange or odd. We know little of what they've been through, We know not of their plight, Whilst we ponder on the evening's meal, They'll be wondering if they'll have anywhere to sleep tonight." This phrase of lines is incredible, and a most powerful piece of writing that shows the ignorance of man, instantly judging those who are 'underneath them,' and not giving a thought as to what they have to do to get a slice of bread or a cardboard box for shelter. You show genuine emotion here dealing with what the homeless got through, and how they think from their perspective. I love how you say they could be a hero, an unknown forefather who gave us our future, and it is mindblowing. "We must never judge those who we do not know, For to judge without knowledge is ignorance, Let us appreciate the things we have that others do not, Because we could end up in the same situation in an instant." This is also powerful and revolutionary because it can be switched in only a few seconds, and you point out how would the person now in a homeless place feel when no one cares about them. This is tremendous, and a wonderful message for people to think about. Powerful and inspiring, a work of wonder.

Mon, June 29th, 2015 12:37pm


Absolutely my friend, I totally agree with you that humanity has become so cold and it's so sad to see an ignorant society, totally oblivious to the plight of others around them. I know exactly what you mean my friend, about feeling a sense of homelessness when no-one is willing to give you a chance for employment and as a result, aren't able to buy the things that you'd like to buy with the very money that you've worked so hard for and so on. I'm honoured by your kind words my friend and I'm really pleased that the message within this poem has clarity for you. I do like to write pieces that have meanings behind them because as you say, it gets the audience thinking and wondering and that's what can help others to try and have an understanding of what people in this world have to go through, in the hope that they share a sense of compassion for others who are less fortunate than us. Thank you once again for pointing that line out my friend. It's one that I really wanted to try and make as powerful and as hard-hitting as possible, because those who are comfortable or who are able to provide for themselves at least, don't have to worry about when their next meal will be coming or whether they'll have a bed to sleep in each night; somewhere safe and warm and secure, away from the dangers of the streets. The least we have to worry about is essentially what to have for tea tonight and yet, for those people experiencing homelessness it becomes much more than simply wondering what to eat tonight. It becomes a struggle for survival and it's something that we take for granted. I think we often forget that we can turn on the shower and have hot water, that we can open the fridge and have food readily available. That we are safe in the knowledge that we've got a warm bed to retreat to when the night arrives. Society is certainly ignorant my friend and they judge those who they know little of and it's wrong. I know that we've all made assumptions about someone before, but it's something that we shouldn't do because our assumptions could prove to be very wrong indeed. It's like looking at the cover of a book and saying "That looks boring." But how do we know if we've only looked at the cover that it's boring? For all we know, it could be a very interesting book and it's the same when we come to the topic of homelessness. How can we make an assumption about someone if all we do is look at them and take them face value? We can't! We have to get to know the person first because they could have incredible stories to tell, and yet society is simply kicking them to the gutter without a care in the world. I think it's absolutely disgusting that society looks down on people who are homeless, there's no need for people to be arrogant and self-centred. At the end of the day, homeless people are still people. They are no different from you or I. They still have a heart and a soul and they still have dreams and desires, so why should they be thought of in a different way? Thank you my friend, I like to show true emotions in all of my pieces wherever possible, because I feel that it makes the piece so much more real. I'm fortunate to have a roof over my head and a job that brings money in, but I cannot even begin to imagine what people who are homeless have to face each and every day.. It must be so horrible. I know that there are those who are homeless and have no interest in working and simply sit and drink or use drugs all day, rather than trying to get themselves out of homelessness, but I want this poem to highlight the plight of those who are genuinely homeless through no fault of their own. Absolutely my friend! For all we know, they could be a WW2 veteran, a Vietnam veteran or even a veteran from the recent wars. How shameful is it that rich countries do not provide for their own heroes once they return from the horrors of war? All they've seen and all that they've been through, fighting for their land and their country for what? Just so they can come home to absolutely nothing! They risk their lives and this is how they are repaid... It's simply a sad state of affairs and the government should be ashamed of themselves! How can we let our heroes suffer like this? How can governments who say they 'care' do absolutely nothing to help them? As you rightfully say my friend, these people who could well be heroes helped to give us the future that we have today and yet, they are simply left behind almost a forgotten memory. I mentioned to Cassie that so many people died during the Vietnam War and the American soldiers who returned from fighting the North and the Viet-Cong, didn't come back to cheers and greets and pride... Instead they came back to hatred and uncertainty. I'm glad that you pointed that line out as well my friend because as you rightfully say, anyone can become homeless because it doesn't discriminate. Even CEO's have been known to become homeless, so it doesn't matter how much money we earn or what position we are in the workplace... It can happen to anyone at any time. That's why we should and must appreciate what we have now and be grateful for the things we already have. I can only begin to imagine that they feel sad and lonely, especially if much of society simply has nothing to do with them and ignores them. I am greatly honoured by your words my friend and I always appreciate and value your kind comments. You're an amazing fan my friend and are like all my fans highly valued. I haven't forgotten about your pieces my friend, just trying to fit time in around work and what not. I'll be sure to have a read for you though my friend, especially since you've been good enough to read my works. Take great care friend and thank you so much again. All the very best to you. :)

Thu, July 2nd, 2015 11:43pm

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