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My Vagabond Heart, a Poem

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.

My Vagabond Heart

I'm often called a wanderer,

A hobo, or a tramp.

A nomad with no fixed abode,

Where I stop is where I camp.

Sometimes I thumb it for a ride,

No transport of my own.

My only real possession,

A two-year old cell phone.


I have the clothes I'm wearing,

And a bag upon my back.

For me, life's an adventure,

There is no turning back.

I eat when I am hungry,

And sleep when I am tired.

I'm not tied down by protocol,

A freedom that's admired.


I don't covet possessions

Or want what others have.

I'm happy on the road and free,

There's no room in the grave.

I run beside a freight train,

My legs are pumping fast,

And jump into a carriage

As it rattles slowly past.

I'll share the clothes from off my back

Or give a bum a meal.

No one knows that ten years past

I was a Navy Seal.

Why do I live my life this way?

People ask me, acting smart.

I shrug and say, "It suits me fine,

Bow to my vagabond heart."

© 2018 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 26, 2019:

Hi Jason, it is a real compliment if someone wants to read your writing twice, let alone three times. I am truly appreciative. Thanks.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on September 25, 2019:

I really did

Jason Nicolosi from AZ on September 25, 2019:

Thought provoking, inspiring, a wonderful poem. I have read it three times now, and i'm about to read it again. Very cool.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on September 25, 2019:

Thank you for reading this Cheryl. Glad you enjoyed this.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on September 25, 2019:

This is really great. I love it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on August 29, 2019:

Same here Denise, it is just a pipe dream but it is nice to imagine. Thank you for reading.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on August 29, 2019:

This almost makes me want to pack a backpack and hit the road. Sometimes I'd love to give up all the responsibilities and bills that come with a home and permanent address. But I won't.



John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 14, 2018:

Thank you, Li-Jen, glad you enjoyed this poem and the accompanying music.Cheers

Li-Jen Hew on July 14, 2018:

Hey Jodah or John haha...I enjoyed your poem. I like the simplicity and carefree attitude of the poem. My favourite lines are two-year old cell phone and vagabond heart. Nice taste of music too. Thanks for sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 14, 2018:

Genna, you are right, it does take courage and a true heart to live that life voluntarily. Thank you so much for the generous comment.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on July 14, 2018:

I've always thought that the wanderer who roams our freewheeling paths has courage and a true heart. You have expressed that so beautifully, here John. I think this is one of your best poems.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 11, 2018:

Many of us tried to escape and live a free lifestyle for a few years when young before getting tied down to responsibilities Shauna. Very few are brave enough to do it deliberately later in life. I am sure you will always retain your free spirit though. Thanks for reading.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 11, 2018:

Love it, John! Oh to be young and carefree again! I pretty much had a vagabond heart and lifestyle when I was in my twenties and I don't regret a day of it, especially now that I'm settled down and tied to financial obligations. But I'll always be a free spirit at heart!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 10, 2018:

Frank, I greatly appreciate that comment. I was pleased with this piece and glad it appealed to you as well.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on July 10, 2018:

Jodah at his best... shaking poetry up and we know who is on top...Loved it John....:)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 09, 2018:

Wow, PS, you really did live this lifestyle? Way to go. I am sure it was idyllic. Thanks for the angels.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 09, 2018:

There was a time when I lived that kind of life believe it or not...and I am not so sure it wasn't a truly idyllic way to live. Well said Jodah. Angels are headed your way this evening ps pinned

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 08, 2018:

Thank you so much, John Ray

Ray from Philippines on July 08, 2018:

A very meaningful poem. I love it so much!!!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 07, 2018:

No, Ann, it is a big move to embrace the vagabond life - unless maybe if you were born into it and never got attached to possessions and tied down by responsibilities. Some people do tend to spend most of their time travelling however...grey nomads and the like, which is one version of freedom.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 07, 2018:

Love this, John! It has the freedom of spirit which you're writing about. I do find when I'm travelling that it gives one a sense of history, adventure and connection with a new landscape and I love that feeling. Don't think I could live like a vagabond though, though I do admire that spirit.


John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 04, 2018:

Venkatachari, I always appreciate your comments on my writing. It really can be a wonderful life, many if us are just not brave enough to throw away our so called security to pursue it.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 04, 2018:

Thank you, Chris. I thought I had already replied to your comment but must have missed it somehow. Better late than never. Thank you for reading as always. Your opinion is always greatly appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 04, 2018:

Dana, your comment is so true. Most homeless people are very humble and expect very little. They cannot be all tarred with the one brush and treated like beggars and vagrants. Some also choose a life with little and no responsibility and are no burden on society. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 04, 2018:

Thank you for reading, Shena. I am glad you enjoyed this poem.

Roshena from Baguio City, Philippines on July 04, 2018:

I love this poem :D ❤❤

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on July 04, 2018:

A very appealing story of the traveler with a vagabond heart. No obligations, no care at what other's might be thinking. Really a wonderful life. Enjoyed the nice description of those adventures.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 04, 2018:

Thanks Eric. Yes, some really do choose that. As hard as it is for most of us to believe.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on July 04, 2018:

So very cool. With a great social message. And a good reminder that some just choose that life.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 04, 2018:

Thanks Hari, yes not many of us are free or brave enough to make that choice.

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on July 04, 2018:

Life choice that is a rarity now a days. Great poem.

- hari

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 03, 2018:

Glad you enjoyed this poem and the twist at the end, Lori. Thanks for reading.

Lori Colbo from United States on July 03, 2018:

What an interesting and unanticipated twist at the end. I was loving it anyway but was wondering why he wasn't hungry and looking for meals. I really loved this.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 03, 2018:

That is a great truth, Shaloo, it is the ultimate freedom but it takes a brave soul to live that kind of life. Thank you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 03, 2018:

You make some valid points Glen. How long one can live this way remains to be seen, especially if suffering PTSD. We do also need love. Thanks for the great comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 03, 2018:

You are right Mary, it is the life of ultimate freedom, but most people aren't brave enough to choose it preferring stability. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 03, 2018:

Thank you Linda. Glad you enjoyed the poem and that the ending was a surprise.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 03, 2018:

Thanks for the kind comment, Delilah. Most people feel sympathy or repulsion for the homeless but very few consider that some do actually choose to live that way for the price of freedom.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 03, 2018:

Bill, people were resourceful during hard times like the Great Depression, and did what they had to to survive and get around. My dad had similar tales to tell. Glad you loved the poem.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on July 03, 2018:

That is awesome John. Well written and very well thought out.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on July 03, 2018:

People have lots of opinions about the homeless, but I have met some of the best people who live on the street. They are not running the race of life but just living life. Most are so humble. They look out for one another , share their meager belongings, this is vastly different from the regular folks who only care about image, success and material possessions.

Jill Spencer from United States on July 03, 2018:

Did you base this on someone you know? It would make a great song along the lines of Mary Gautier’s hobo king.

Shaloo Walia from India on July 03, 2018:

Ultimate freedom...Many of us yearn for that kind of freedom but few have the courage to pursue it. Loved the poem!

Glen Rix from UK on July 03, 2018:

I find the sentiments of the voice in this poem quite poignant because I wonder how people who live this sort of life, often suffering from PTSD if they are ex-forces, will survive.If they do survive, what sort of life they will have ten years down the line. At the end of the day we all need love in our lives.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 03, 2018:

I love the way you tell in a poem the story of this guy. Your portrayal makes a vivid picture. His life is one of ultimate freedom, one I can only dream about but will be afraid of choosing.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on July 03, 2018:

I loved this poem. I thought it was written of someone 80 years ago; your revelation of the traveler's background was a surprise ending (and I know you intended that). Good job.

Delilah from Kentucky on July 03, 2018:

Loved your poem. Reading your comment from earlier, I have to admit I was one of those that never thought maybe that's a life someone had chosen instead of it being circumstantial. Thanks for pointing that out

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 03, 2018:

My dad actually rode the rails when he was a teen during the Great Depression....searching for work, he would send money back home to his mom and dad....loved this poem.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on July 03, 2018:

Rinita, thanks for being first to read this and also for you insightful comment. We are often quick to judge people living this type of life and maybe feel sorry for them, not realising it is an actual choice they made.

Rinita Sen on July 03, 2018:

This is an excellent point of view. To each his own, as they say. Accept and respect the ways in which people live their lives, as long as they are happy, and not knowingly hurt another. Written in your natural flow of rhymes, this may raise many topics, or just let them pass by.

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