Recently I spoke to a young man.
Let’s say his name was John.
He told me all about his life,
And the things that he had done.
Coming from a broken home
and abused by someone close
he said he fell behind in reading and sums
receiving lower grades than most.
He left school aged just sixteen
Joined the army, felt there was nothing else.
He was taught how to march, to obey,
and how to kill. In self defence
He was told when to sleep.
When to wake, when to eat.
He was feeling content,
felt his life was complete.
He then was sent to the Afgan war,
returned with anxiety and stress.
The army he loved he had to leave,
His nerves were in a mess.
He moved into a bedsitter flat,
with the remains of his army pay.
Soon fell behind with the rent,
Was told ‘Get out right-away!’
Not knowing where to go,
he walked the streets by day.
At night sleeping on cardboard.
In a secluded shop doorway.
Passer-by’s ignored his begging pleas,
muttering ‘He is on the dole,
will spend money on drink and drugs.’
His medal proudly worn, some said he stole.
Then one night someone did stop,
helped him to his feet.
Took him to a sheltered home,
gave him something to eat.
He was taught how to read,
enrolled on an IT course.
He was shown where to seek help,
and said he was able to find some work.
Now he is a leader at the home,
helps others change their lives.
For those like he once was,
I asked if he had advice.
He said, ‘My friend, believe in yourself,
never have self doubt,
say to yourself each and every day,
I may be down, but not out.’