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.