The old man
DREAMS this man, unshaved and dirty,
Far from years when he was thirty...
His clothes are worn, his shirt is torn;
His shoulders stoop from worries born.
His ravaged face and lack of grace
Now marks this man the fates debase
Drunk and lonely, uncomplaining
He, from food (not drink) abstaining.
When money lacks for bed and beer
Employed is he at markets near
To scale some fish for buyers who
Then weekly pay some dollars few.
Dark hs room with roof leaks staining
Shared by rats with daylight’s waning
And crawling pests that romp with glee
Beneath his tattered rug, while he,
Immune by now to such cavorts,
In sodden slumber loudly snorts.
Shunned is he by those unknowing,
Talked about in terms unglowing.
Himself he just cannot defend;
For speech his vocal chords but bend
To rasping grunts. at speech they baulk:
With fellow-man he cannot talk!
Years ago from work he hurried
Home to child and wife unflurried
To find his home but ashes cold
And then police the story told.
Of death to wife and child. the shock
Forever his vocal chords would block.
Always he for death is yearning
Yet the flame of life keeps burning.
He clasped a stroke, quite unalarmed:
To his dismay he lived, unharmed.
For thirty years he undermined
His health – still leaving Death behind.