Winter sun shines wanly in the church ground
Long shadows grace the wooded park.
The newly cut lawns sparkle emerald green in the late morning light
And the steeple bell tolls, calling the faithful to worship on this Sunday in late May.
An old man sits on the bench nearby and quietly mutters to himself.
The church goers ignore him as they congregate together discussing the inanities that pass for conversation prior to worship, he is invisible to them as they companionably file through the portal of the church doors, exchanging pleasantries with the welcoming, smiling priest.
Oblivious, in his dishevelled way, the old man quietly mutters his words to himself. His wrinkled, white bearded face totally preoccupied with his thoughts about where his years have gone.
"Just yesterday I ran that race
In bare feet for the mile,
My school mates cheered me on
And I recall I won in style.
And last week at the dole queue
When stale bread was handed out,
I swear I only took my share
Despite the Copper's shout!
The when I held my baby girl
In bloody swaddling clothes,
I saw exhaustion take my wife
Her face a pallid rose.
And in the pits the burning heat
The coal dust and the gas,
Filled the lungs of most of us
With a bitter, black morass.
Though Charlie Donohue’s cold ale
Was nectar to me then,
And a sharper axe was never swung
Or how, or why, or when.
I'm always short on Thursdays
It's a hungry time of week,
And the street kids pinch my park bench
So I've got nowhere to sleep.
Oh the beauty of that first kiss
With the lass across the road,
Versus brutal hiding's dished out
By that bully, bastard , toad.
Sunshine at riverbank
When there's nothing much to do
And the sparkles on the water
And the cold of morning dew.
Money in your pocket
The feeling's Oh so grand,
When you can shout your mate a beer or two
And he runs to shake your hand.
There's a dull ache in my hip now
And it never goes away,
And when asked to elaborate
The smart ass Doctor wouldn't say.
Best of all were the apricots
On Fergie's green old tree,
And we kids would run and pinch the fruit
And gorge it all for free.
Oh the joy on my darlings face
In that wedding on the hill,
When tomorrow promised everything
And the very world stood still.
And I recall the starlings wheeling
In a sky of brilliant blue
As they flocked in tune with Autumn,
When the leaves were red in hue.
But I Can't remember details now
The days are getting dim,
So it's hardly worth the effort
To try and share this all with him........"
On the bench in the wan winter sunshine.
29 may 2011
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