The old man and the river

Anthony_van_Dyck_-_Studies_of_a_Man's_Head_-_WGA07445

 

The old man sleeps rough

and stands for hours watching

the play of light and half-light

on the ripple-patterned water.

Banks of leaves of red and gold

drift crisp and dry against his shoes

as he stands to watch beneath the clouds

the ripples in the river.

 

Along the bank the squabbling gulls

dip and dive to snatch at bits of bread.

Their noisy brilliance sleek and white

hangs bright against the grey of rainy skies

a short-lived dance that curtseys to the wind

while the dimpling water ripples on and on.

 

Seasons change and chill winds blow

and sunlight’s pale as ice and glacier-cold.

Still he stands among the leaves

to watch the endless river pass

with wind-drawn patterns on its skin

and narrow shadows cast by drifting birds.

 

Above his head beyond the blue

in the silent darkness filled with stars

the great wheel turns and turns and turns,

rolling from sky to unseen sky

with rivers of comets in its wake.

He stands and watches time flow by

his feet the pivot of the universe.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

18 thoughts on “The old man and the river”

    1. Certainly when you sleep rough things like the changes in the weather become that much more important. Just watching the sky and the free spectacle is something we tend to forget about.

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