Room in the Inn


Streets of Cold


Brisk days

early chill

     leaves still suspended

     over chimneys breathing

warmth and comfort

gatherings with cider

hands curved around

cups perfectly molded

by potters who knew.


A time for home and family

     the newness of spring spent

summer used

fall the short introduction.


A blessed space for quiet

     mind now paced to gratitude

tables set to share the plenty

privilege brings.


God’s power drifting quietly

across early morning fields

of frost

     leaves peeking through

     looking for the sun one more time.

Another chance to shine

before winter’s sleep.


Disruption stings the pastoral

interrupts the sweet soul

with the other cold.

     The real cold.

     The street cold.

The experienced cold

no less

because of assigned choices

or no choices 

or judged choices.


The cold that transcends

thermometer but adds

the singular life of hugs

     by strangers 

     new friends

gyms filled with respite

in shared communion of hearts

and food, cots lovingly made

by the Christ, local and willing

open to the gospel message.


New clothes added

to laundry, fresh and clean,

     safe sleep in places

     of worship redefined.

Shared words that tie


a new book of prayers

written together.


Bandaids applied to

society’s wounds

     the journey to justice

     softened for 

this time

this moment

this night.


Breakfast begins the new day

lunches in hand

new memories for balance

the bus leaves.


The cold streets beckon.


Christ there, too.



jackie shields

to honor Room in the Inn

servants and friends,

the homeless with homes

or without.