Old Man

Old Man

 

Carefully crossing the cobbled street.

Placing his stick like a feeler ahead,

Only his back, slightly stooped, shows his burden.

Lately he’s aware that small tasks are not easy:

   Put the keys on the mantle; each thing has its place;

 Forgotten wallet means climbing the stairs to the top.

No more squandering his energy, too precious to waste.

Names come and go; memory’s sieve lets them through.

Not so the past, for those stories grow brighter.

They tug on his coat sleeves, insist on attention.

Time, always time, the hour-glass empties.

So much to share.

Who cares?

Who will listen?

He sees the Young rushing, busy and worried,

While he’s in the slow lane, his eyes have grown blurry.

Now they look inwards as he strives to make sense

Of his eighty-five years – he feels weary and spent.

There was travel and study, joy in achievement,

Weddings, baptisms, ill health and deaths.

And as he reflects with inner-eye, sharp as razor,

His memories are lit with wonderful clarity.

He sees that what matters is empathy and laughter.

 For the rest … he’ll wait for life hereafter.

— By Gabrielle Blair

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