Old Man in the Park

He sits alone on a bench

In the municipal park

Soaking up the wintry sun

Staring ahead…at what?

I wonder what goes on

In the minds of the very old:

Are they like Buddhas

Sedate and wisdom-filled

Or merely empty vessels

As they sit waiting patiently

In the antechamber to oblivion?

I dare not disturb this man’s reverie

To ask him whether the long course

Of his life has been worth living

For he has a certain stoic dignity

Like the statues in the nearby temple.

He is ignored by the little children

Playing their incomprehensible games

On the grass and perhaps it is best

They do not know what he may know.

Yet I remember him long after my walk

As I remember similar old men sitting

There in the twenty years I have been

Passing by, his predecessors

Long forgotten by the world

and consigned evermore to dust.

And soon enough I shall be as he

In the solitude that is the end of days.

~Ian Fletcher,

Cardiff, South Wales, UK

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