Old Man, Waiting

He stayed, although they’d told him she was gone.

An old man in a hat, who you might miss,
Sat waiting for someone who’d never come;
The room had cleared to silent emptiness,
But he would not believe – would not succumb –

In touches seen but only privately,
He’d known love from an acorn to a tree;
The heart that sealed itself, and clicked its locks,
Would not convert that love into a box
Of wood made from the one phenomenon
That graced his life for all these many years…

The room filled up again, and life went on,
While he sat staring, past the edge of tears.
Another night leads to another dawn,
One light goes out, another one appears –

While somewhere, far inside, a curtain’s drawn —

He stays, although they told him she

Was gone

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7 Thoughts to “Old Man, Waiting

  1. Owen, this moves me so. The very picture of my late father-in-law the day mom passed. So touching. ‘From an acorn to a tree,’ dear God may we all be so blessed.

    1. My wife works in an occupation where she spends a lot of time with the grieving. Recently, she told me about two different married couples she’s been dealing with: one, where the husband died; the other, the wife. In the former case, the woman and her late husband had built up a tremendous storehouse of memories traveling the world together. In the latter case, the woman’s declining health had seen her spend the last fifteen years of her life (she died at around 60) a shell of her former self.

      “But,” she said, “Whether love is the icing on a wonderful, perfect cake, or, love is the glue holding body and soul together in hard times, it’s the same love. It’s special – intimate – unique. And so is the grief that follows.”

      Her comments inspired this poem. And may we, indeed, all be blessed by love.

      1. Indeed. It’s an amazing thing to hold a hand in love as they graduate to the next phase of existence.

  2. Absolutely perfect Owen. I once spoke to a lady visiting her husband in a dementia home. She visited every day and her own health was failing. A friend had suggested that she only visited once a week. “He doesn’t even know who you are.” she had been told. She replied “No, but I know who he is. He’s my husband, and I love him.” Makes me tear up every time I tell anyone!

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