“Ode to Mitch Snyder”

An image taken looking to an open window of a homeless shelter

Elvert Barnes/Flickr

It’s alright baby
Mama has you now
cuddled close to her breast where
you can finally, finally rest

Hadn’t a moment’s peace on earth
did ya’ hon?
Oh Mitch Snyder
chosen, driven, haunted one

You shed your blood so others could live
taking in by the thousands
to your shelters’ warm arms
the poor, unwanted, neglected on earth
They flocked to your door
knowin’ a night’s peace could be had
with no questions asked

In the coldest darkest nights
through blizzards, rain, sleet and snow
as we slept warmly
in our secure little beds
with dollar signs dancin’ through
our empty little heads
You, darlin’, were collectin’ the
remains of the no names
at the city morgue’s door and
holding ‘em tight to your breast
For you were the orphans’
God on earth Mitch
the daddy, mother, brother all in one
for the millions without anyone

On this earth you walked
alone and abused
But your mission my friend
bears fruit
The homeless of this land have
one less tear, one more meal,
and a night’s freedom
from the violent who
eat the weak on the streets

Unconditional love you gave
24 hours a day
You took in what society throws away
the strays
Yea child you walked in ‘dem shoes
of prisoner tramp and thief
So you knew, didn’t ya’ hon, how it felt
on ‘dem cold filthy concrete streets

Humbled yourself before mankind
and now your chosen soul child
has gone home to god for its final rest

Oh yeah sweetie pie,
your time for wailing is done
And for the price you paid Mitch Snyder,
the whole world’s gonna honor and
pay homage to you through eternity

Don’t need to shed your tears
no more child
It’s time for the trumpets
and peace bells to ring out your name
to everyone on earth and
all the saints gather round
and place upon your precious head
the crown of the brave valiant
and those that persevered

In thy hands, feet and brow
the stigmata do I see there
We crucified thee mitch
with ignorance, pride and
tightly closed eyes

And in your side with
your own hand
you placed the final wound
Cause child you had given
all you came to earth to
give and winged your way back home
to God as angels do
as soon as their chosen works are thru

A saint’s halo shall grace thee
of this I am certain

And now Mr. Snyder may I
this unknown poet
wash your holy feet
with my teardrops
dotted here and there
and dry them with my hair

You died for love Mitch Snyder
and I, no we, love you


Thousands of people sleep and eat in the Federal City Shelter nightly, where Mitch founded the Community for Creative Nonviolence. They would otherwise be on the cold streets of Washington D.C. A street near the shelter Mitch Snyder Way.

Six months after I met him, he died by hanging himself. I am forever grateful that Mitch gave his life for the poorest of the poor.

Issues |Death|Shelters|Spirituality

Region |Northwest|Washington DC

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