I didn’t know him well

The phone call had
Sad news to tell
But I confess
I didn’t know him well.

I saw him often across the way
He’d wave and smile and make my day.
Shy and reserved, he lived alone,
People knew him by sight, this man on his own.
Two brothers he had and sisters three,
Though he said, ‘They have no time for me’.

If he wasn’t stooped, he’d be tall and thin,
Though words were few, he’d take it all in.
At a party once I helped him pile
His plate with food chatting all the while.
He’d smile and nod in the appropriate place,
As I paused for breath, he’d watched my face.
I held his hand, led him back to his seat,
Then stayed to make sure he’d remember to eat.

He wasn’t daft, neither was he dim,
But old age and arthritis got the better of him.
He had a fall, friends found him there
Cold and afraid at the foot of the stairs.
One week on, he has passed away,
This man whose smile would brighten the day.

They said that he was seventy nine,
But I knew different, because one time
He told me he was eighty one,
And spoke of wars and years long gone.
How he missed his friends, the ones he’d lost
Defending their country at the highest cost.
The pets he’d had, both dogs and cats,
The clothes he’d worn, his outrageous hats.
His precious medal on a ribbon of silk,
Tucked away in a cupboard, along with the milk.
‘Nothing important’, he wanted no fuss,
Impressive, courageous, and humbling to us.
Time past and present, the when and the now
All rolled into one in his mindset somehow.

The phone call came,
Such sad news to tell,
But I regret
I didn’t know him well.
gentleman

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have recently lost our beloved dog Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney, and now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of my GSD so had hers done too. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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11 Responses to I didn’t know him well

  1. colinandray says:

    That was quite lovely to read. Thank you for sharing. It reminded me in so many ways of Paul Simon’s “A Most Peculiar Man”, and raised the same emotions.

  2. lbeth1950 says:

    This was very moving.

  3. A beautiful tribute to this noble sounding man, P. I think most of us would be greatly touched to be remembered in such a poignant and tender way.
    A lovely piece, indeed.

  4. Pingback: Mystery Blogger Award 4th January 2020 | pensitivity101

  5. Reblogged this on pensitivity101 and commented:

    I’m reblogging this in respnse to Fandango’s One Word Challenge which today is Ordinary.
    https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/79388113/posts/2756678384
    What is ordinary for some is not for others, and what we see at face value is only a glimpse in the window of someone’s life.
    We each have a story to tell, ordinary or perhaps maybe not……..

  6. Fandango says:

    Very nice poem. Kind of sad, though.

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