Posted by: Peadar Ban | January 29, 2018


Some old men I know are strange animals

Sitting in one place, sometimes all morning,

Quietly watching the wall across the room

Or the bare tree trunk outside the window.

A young man would move the furniture

At least, or, soon getting up, go outside

To rake the leaves from the garden beds

Beneath the tree before the crocus bloomed.

Make straight the stones along the garden way.


I have seen old men walking slowly by

At almost any time of day looking

To me like fellows somewhere far away

Who, when I speak a greeting, often silently

Return mine with the merest glance, eloquent

In its simplicity; all that’s needed

On a dark night to keep the course they’re on.


Men of a certain age will watch the day

In the same way an infant might calmly

Follow from its crib or its cradle mother’s

Path across, or in and out of, its room

Knowing what will come somehow; none the less

Deeply interested in the unfolding.



January 29, 2018


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