A near old man shuffling memories
blanket wrapped against winter cold.
They kaleidoscope across his mind,
signposts along the path to being old.
This faded photograph shows the baby
who would progress inevitably into me,
being proudly smilingly tightly held
safe and warm on his mother's knee.
Only a mere second later the squaddie
just home on first leave, still khaki clad,
is caught standing street corner talking
with old friends from those village lads.
Five minutes more, surely no longer
and the start of a change of life
standing chatting with the one
now for so many years his wife
Where have all those many years gone.
How can any life be so quickly told
by a bunch of old photographs so few
that a shoe box can so very easily hold;
Those years that seemed so endlessly
long then, when time was his friend
are now just seconds long fleeting
intervals to this nearer life's other end.
The memories keep gently flowing
of a life full of happiness and joy
in that journey to this near old man
from that wondering village boy.
I still thirst for the future, forward
looking, I hope, until the very last,
but keeping my options open now
by one foot firmly kept in my past.
And I start to understand now why
the gift of memory is so very kind
that helps man face uncertain future
with that retreat there in his mind.
I understand the state of that old man
who seems so uncertain on his feet;
his smile shows he subconsciously
still firmly dances down that street.