Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘The Old Men’ and other poems

By: Steve Grogan

“The Old Men”

I’ll be one of them someday,
the old men who wait 
on the lonely park bench.

The October dust comes
as Halloween breathes around them.
Autumn glows on their shoulders.

The old men sit there
waiting for something to come.

Every day the bench anticipates
the warmth of their bodies.
Lost in gloves and scarves,
they talk of times long gone,
invisible to the young folk.

I examine their tissue paper-thin skin,
stretched so delicately over their hands.
I look through their lenses.
See myself reflected.

I wonder what’s wrong with this scene.
Nobody comes here anymore.
They’re left alone with the dust
and the city wind.

The old men sit,
remembering more as the day whistles blow.
Blistering sunshine,
then comes the snow.
In fall they sprinkle breadcrumbs
upon the leaf-covered ground
which they guard like soldiers
(which, of course, they once were).

I never made much sense of it…
at least not during the first year,
or even the last.

The old men have passed,
moved on to a new city
or possibly a new life.

I saw their park bench,
and their absence was so intense
that it was almost like
they were still there.

And how I cried to know
all good men
must come to an end.

I loved those old men.
Their stories of hearts
and four-leaf clovers
passed away with them.

It’s a year or two
before I go back there
to feel the crisp October evenings
and sit here on the same bench 
where they waited for their end
because now it’s my turn.

I’m one of the old men.

“Into a World”

I was born into a world
of love and trust,
of blue skies and lust,
shuffled through moments
of woe and grief,
disruptions of magic…
so fleeting, so brief,
but through all these years
my eyes discovered an underlying
construction of fear.
The human race slowly removed
its mask of manners, of civility,
to reveal the next evolutionary step…
and oh what dark creatures
we have become.

“Tuesday Morning Poem”

Two people
argue against the sunlight,
no taste or smell
ever destined to come between them.

Tonight they will examine sycamore trees 
to see if the bark burns beneath their touch.
My wife and I will dine with them again,
using only the blue moon and naked self-portraits 
to guide how we feel 
and carefully monitor how the words 
flow from our spirits.

Together we shall rise
like ancient beasts, hurting and scared.
We will make this world ours again
without a hitch. There will be
no revolutions to stop us.

The transition will be smooth. Our rule will be
absolute. No uncertainty can ever enter this
new kingdom of ours. We will rule forever.

Then again, I can’t be sure any of this
will come to pass because sometimes 
even the most innocent smile
can make a giant collapse to his knees.


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