The Meeting (1988)

One day I met a little old man.
His hands were shaky and his hearing poor.
But his mind was sharp; he had a hint of a smile.
We sat down together and while the sun was high,
He told me of his life; what had made him old.

He said, “You see, I’ve lived enough.
I’ve worried about the future,
And glorified the past.
I’ve held responsibility when others have fled.
And borne the burden of blame.
Then watched as others took credit for my achievements.
And stood silent as my ideals disappeared.”

“I’ve loaned out a shoulder so others could cry.
Yet faced my own problems alone.
I’ve befriended those who were shunned,
Then been tossed aside without a thought.
I’ve loved and lost, and loved again.
And lost; building a shell so I can’t be hurt.
I’ve strived for companionship all of my days,
Yet I remain ignored, aloof, and apart.

We talked until the sun was down.
He left me with a twinkle in his eye.
I sat in silence; wondered how he –
Who had suffered so much could still smile.
And then I knew; my breath grew quick.
That old man was me.


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