Songs from the peripheries

Songs from the peripheries

The Vatican-owned L’Osservatore Romano, Wednesday, published the first edition of a street newspaper aiming “to give voice to the voiceless.”

L’Osservatore di Strada — in English “The Street Observer” — “is above all a newspaper with the poor,” says a June 28 press release.

“Even those who have a cardboard box for a house have something to say and teach,” it said.

The monthly newspaper is available online and in print.

It is available on Sunday mornings in St Peter’s Square. The ‘cost’ is a donation of the reader’s choice, with all proceeds going towards the poor and homeless assisting with the production of the paper.

The press release report that each edition of the street paper will be organized around a theme, and include editorials by people living on the streets, joint articles by both famous writers and marginalized people, reports on Pope Francis, and a section with artistic contributions by the poor, including drawings, stories, songs, and poems.

The published texts will be created by some homeless and collected with the help of operators and volunteers from those organisations that host and assist them in Rome.

The beautiful ones streets

You must always look for the beautiful roads, paying attention to obstacles, not to mislead, in the ups and downs of winding paths that take you back to the auction from where you started.

The beautiful roads are now a bet, the corners of Italy are there waiting in beauty, lonely give you the sun, mountain outposts and laughing valleys of the plains are waiting for you, a sign from you in company.

The beautiful roads in your mind run fast. If you arrive, you arrive well, when you are aware of the destination where you admire a capital, the ancient arch that guides you up there to get drunk among new flowers, colours, ancient flavours that, as you well know, no longer exist in the city.

The beautiful, remote, almost hidden streets give you cheers for having discovered them. You can feel a little king in discovering that pleasant place that gives you paradise, forgetting where you were before: where evil seems eternal like the ugliness of hell.


If I want to go far away
If I want to have a different life
A different life from the one I have
Oh roads, roads, roads that go away
Roads that go away … with you.
Oh world or world that goes
Oh people who come or people who go
Oh roads, roads, roads that go away
Roads that go away … with you.
Oh life that comes or life that goes
Oh death that comes or death that goes
Oh roads, roads, roads that go away
Roads that go away … with you.
Oh love, love
Don’t leave me in this world, love
Don’t leave me in this world
where people think for themselves
Oh roads, roads, roads that go away
Roads that go away … with you.

A smile will suffice

Her house
It is the way,
the bed, a cardboard,
the pillow, a duffel bag,
the blanket, the jacket,
is alone in the dark night,
fear assails him,
the hours never go by,
as if they had stopped.
Lift your eyes to the sky,
with the stars that light up the night.
Before or then someone will pass
and who knows if it will stop.
A smile will suffice and
his heart will warm in the cold night,
waiting the day that will come if it does.
But he already knows that he will make it,
because he will feel strong the man of the night.
And that sun that will rise there hope will give him.

The long one wait

You have to know how to adapt to live on the street. There is no daughter-in-law of hunger in Rome, you always manage to find something.

Here around San Pietro, there are many volunteers who arrive in the evening and bring you food. Institutions limit themselves to the bare essentials. Once in winter, they brought us some salad. On the street, we were below zero.

Fortunately, however, every now and then a person from the area arrives and offers me what he has cooked at home. You feel the difference and it seems to me to go back to three years ago, when I still had a house and I was getting by with my social pension.

Every morning I get up at half-past five because at that time they go to clean under the colonnade and want the area to be cleared. I pick up my sleeping bag and go to have a coffee in a café that is already open. Then I go to wash at the Vatican showers.

The rest is a long wait for the day to end.

The main problem is recharging the mobile phone. It helps me pass the time. I watch a movie. I hear a song. And when I do, I also take a history course. I have always had a passion for history.

I wait for the night but the pain of the day it is always present.

Due to economic issues that I do not want to list, I am at the Circolo S. Pietro. But this is not my world: many people, many heads, each with a thousand defects, including myself. Hope to leave soon.

I always pray to the good Lord to get out of the church for a moment and see what is out there. I see so much suffering, dull eyes, an infinite sadness … pain, people who consume themselves with alcohol and drugs, and people who sleep on the sidewalks amid the indifference of others.

I always pray to the good Lord that this situation will end soon, not only for me but also for everyone else, so as not to see so much despair anymore.

I wait for the night to be able to sleep, but unfortunately, I find it difficult to do so. I wake up several times and I still feel the day present.

  • Gian Paolo, Donà Ciro (author of the text and music), Lia Roberto “Gocce di Marsala” of the Don Luigi Di Liegro hostel of the Caritas of Rome in via Marsala, the members of the San Vincenzo de Paoli Conference of the parish of San Gregorio vii, those of the Circolo S. Pietro and the Community of Sant’Egidio.
  • Original in Italian.
  • First published in L’Osservatore di Strada.
Additional reading

News category: Analysis and Comment.

Tags: ,