Poems From a Runaway - Introduction

I dedicate this book to Sylvie, the first to shine a light on a great love that only a parent could understand. To Mum, for the crap I put her through, and giving up her youth to bring me into this world. To Dad and Kirsty for their great support and encouragement, especially throughout this project.

To all my friends and family, past foster parents, social workers and children’s home staff that made a positive impact on my life. To all the young people in care, care leavers and those working with them.
To the Connection at St Martins, for being my saving grace both as a runaway and immediately afterwards as a young homeless adult. And to the whole world. Pick up the phone and call that person no-one has a clue what is doing.

Let go of your grudges. There is strength in forgiveness. There is treasure in love.


Plenty of people I’ve met that have heard snippets of my life story often comment about how hard it must have been.
The truth is, during most of this adventure, it wasn’t. Not consciously anyway. As you’ll find out, things certainly could have turned out much worse for me. A lot of the people I’d met on the streets had stories a lot more heartbreaking than mine.

And fortunately for me, some of the folk in this book were an important part in changing my outlook on life.
I sometimes wonder - who or what I could have become without these kinds of moments. For those that don’t know me (and those that perhaps think they do!), I don’t do the streets anymore.

Sure I’ve had my times being homeless as an adult, and perhaps with stories like this comes other hurdles, but being the sort of young person I was, it often felt easy.
I guess that I’ve softened up a bit now in my adult life.

But it wasn’t until the age of thirty-two - whilst writing this book - that I’ve ever really reflected on my teenage years as a whole. It’s been somewhat strengthening.
A lot of the people that I’ve written about in this book are now in a completely different time and space. Some for better and some for worse, but for most part – they’ve learned their wisdom along the way.

Perhaps this book will help refresh people’s memories into some of the abstract choices that can be made by a child’s mind?
Or perhaps give one or two social workers a better understanding of bamboozling work cases such as I was?
Welcome to my teenage world of runaways, drug-addicts, predators, alcoholics, prostitutes, down-and-outs, bag ladies, angelic acquaintances and beautiful souls.
Just one more thing…
Donations and money can only do so much for people. If you really want to help the soul of a homeless person, share with them a setting that you yourself would enjoy too.
Share dinner with them, get to know them, invite them to a party, play a game with them, invite them to football or do something creative… 

Just connect. The real deal. Some may have no idea of its importance.
So without further ado, I present to you, my childhood.

(More coming tomorrow!) 

Ben Westwood is revealing a full poem a day of his sixty chapter true-story novel in poetry between April 20th - June 20th 2018.
If you'd rather not wait until June to read the full version then you can also order a copy of Poems From a Runaway on amazon for immediately delivery at 

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