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.
Cardiff, South Wales, UK