We try not to think of our fathers. How they,
At this age or in this shirt or with that
Grey stubble on their now less frequently shaved chin,
Speckling a bonier jaw, a slacker jowl, a skrawnier neck -
Would look. We try not to meet that old man’s
Eye. How the sockets are drawn in, how
It seems shinier somehow, intent on your face
So as to read your thoughts perhaps anticipate
Your rejection your already-forgiven guilt
Your patience already wearing thin. We try
Not to listen to the intensity of their speech
How it repeats its urgent injunctions, its requests, its
Generous bequests. When old men die
We try not think of our fathers
As a man who dodders where he stands. A man
Who built a nation with his hands.
2 thoughts on “When Old Men Die”
This is such a beautiful poem. I read it often when I remember my father.
Thank you, Anand. Grief is such a strange thing. My hope is that we can see our fathers in the faces of other old men, especially those who are ill-treated.