Man with Walker
We saw him there—a balmy sort of night,
Not all that strange: It still seemed vaguely right.
October’s not the cruelest month, you know?
(An Eliot allusion adds a glow?)
No, that’s his sibling April, in whose air
The winter often hides. We see the glare
Of sun and blue, and some returning green—
And out we go to feel what we have seen,
Where laughing winter waits with fangéd breath
And gives us bitter bites of bitter death.
The supper hour, we knew, was over when
We saw him there—out on the walk. The men
Who live there, most of them, were still inside,
Not moving far from chair or bed. Oh, I’d
Not seen this man before. He fiercely gripped
His walker—urged it on, ignored the script
Whose stage directions placed him in a chair
Beside a friendly fire. He didn’t care.
The evening was so mild. And he would go
Outside. And move. Oh, sure, he’d keep it slow
And safe. He would not really risk a fall,
But can you call yourself alive at all
If you just sit and wait for Death to come—
Just sit there, ever sedentary, numb
To what is left? The possibility
Of sun—a setting one for sure? For me,
I do not like to think that I would sit,
But I am mobile now, and I admit
That if I could not move—or barely so—
I’m not so sure that I would do a thing
But wait to see what darknesses will bring.
And so I’m back where all of this began—
Admiring the mere courage of this man.
We volplaned down into a field,
And there we learned: Not all crops yield.
Shakespeare Couplet: Romeo and Juliet (15)
Mercutio riffs at length on wee Queen Mab.
About that famous speech there’s nothing drab! (1.4)