He’s sitting there
With a stare out to infinity
The cigarette lit
Burning down to ashes
Between his fingers

He’s not here
To times, to places gone
Young, unbroken, and fit
To a defining moment meaning nothing
An old man lingers

He sits with an unfocused glare
The cigarette burns down to his fingers
Takes a single puff and rubs it out
Lights another takes just one long drag
Till it too will burn down to his fingers

Gods hammer men without care
And don’t care what they turn out
Statues, coffins, or broken wares
Setting them adrift in a sea of time
And old men wash ashore and linger

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PoetWithCancer commented on Why


Dear WinterFrost, // Your poem here strikes me with strong feelings, similar to some of the best lines I have read from Euripides. // This poem tells some terrible truth--truth not just about life, but about some societies. After all, there are societies that ensure that the old, and the injured and the sick, and the dying, live at least with basic comforts; that whatever can be done, will be done, to extend their lives and make their lives happier and more meaningful; and that when nothing more can be done, and they are dying, their last days still are kept focused on living, under good compassionate care. // Then there are societies where it does not matter that you are a human being whose life is valuable and worth living. If you have given all you can give, and can give no more, then it doesn't matter how much you worked all your life, or what you accomplished, or what you contributed. That's all forgotten, if and when you become poor and desperately ill. // If your investments are wiped out because of reckless scheming greed and deliberate deception, that's just tough. If you find yourself facing the loss of medical coverage because you can't work anymore, and your seemingly large life's savings rapidly dwindle as you are compelled to pay huge self-payments for medical insurance, as long as you can, in the struggle to keep breathing--well, survival of the fittest. // If and when you find yourself abandoned and forgotten in a world where you were once honored and respected and apparently were cared about--then you know--you weren't ever really cared about at all, not as a human being of intrinsic worth; then you feel--deeply and personally--the truth of this poem. // 10. // --Michael LP, Mr. Poet

ginga commented on Why


winter, A place and time to reflect on old men and what becomes of their spirit. I appreciate the compassion the poet bears in the composition of this poem. ginga

Dano commented on Why


there seems a be a sort of grit that goes along with this... cant really put my finger on it... but i say nicely written

dancinghawk commented on Why


a powerful write, examining the ruminations and realities of a lifetime's final port of call, when the past can be more powerful than the present, and life's energy is no longer open to today ... "old men wash ashore and linger" ... holy cats, what a powerful image ... another great write, WinterFrost ... -dh

Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does.

Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) U.S. poet.

WinterFrost’s Poems (95)

Title Comments
Title Comments
Winter Dreams 0
Beach 0
Dreaming Red 0
Thats that 6
Winter Rememberance 4
Shipwreck 2
Riding the Subway 2
Mulberry Street 3
White Picket Fence 2
To Hell with the Devil 5
Why 4
Why I never write about her 5
A nonconformist is born every minute 2
Clash 3
A Wake 3
Growing up politicized 5
Biblical Vermont and New Hampshire 6
Softly falling snow 14
Dead leaf and black crow 4
The Gloaming 2
Dead Soldiers 1
Orchard 2
Soft and well remembered days 1
Personal Kharybdis 0
Leaves 1
Made for Autumn 3
Ground Control 2
The old Hospital 3
Revulsion 6
Steppe 2
Early March and everywhere signs of Winter 2
Winter beach in Maine 4
Yellow Petals 1
Plague 6
On Lacking Ambition 5
Terminal Illness 2
church 5
Beatnik Bar 2
East of timbuktu 7
An Unwarranted Visitor 7
Teflon 3
Still 2
Distant Lamposts 1
Sugar Snow 3
Reality is such a coward 0
Ray 0
Charm 2
Winter 1
A dreaded place 5
Nine square yards of Yellow gingham 0
Silly Hellen stuff 1
Cape Elizabeth 4
Castaway 3
In Goshen on rt. 10 1
Nemesis 6
Camped out 6
The Winter Field 3
Her face rings a bell 7
Terrorism 1
A grape 1
Yellow Petals 1
I was left to ponder 2
Autumnal Poetry Box 2
Distant Lamposts 0
Personal Kharybdis 1
Aloof 1
Ardence and Reserve 0
Oubliette 0
Zen Master 1
Unkind musings on a bad dinner party 2
Emily Walking Through Trees 10
Reflections 4
Ennui 3
FTL (Faster Than Light) 1
And they call me CRAZY 1
lly New England
Where I would go 6
Death of a Clock 9
Puzzle 7
Dead leaf and black crow 4
Filled with Wolves 2
A Cold Stove 4
Summer Cars 0
Twain said never argue with a fool 2
The Swamp Maple 3
Winter is just a soft breath away 0
Five Minutes 3
Self Explanitory 4
The Winter Warrior 4
Jack Frost 3
Pumpkins on the Vine 4
I Opted for the Sociopath 3
Out of sight out of Mind 14
Glorious 3
Elysian Fields 7