the weary Orphan

a poem by Dale Costello, Australia - poetry writer, author, poet

It was the only time we met
purest strangers of the other,
where would I feel failure?
only here in my mind
that strange place of all things
where truth can become a lie
the avenues many and varied,
and that failure turned my eyes
from a human just the same
heart beating full of dreams broken
mouth the same as words unspoken
slight trace of saliva where it seeped
onto his chin violent stubble grew,
and those old eyes
saying nothing even as they knew;
of scars I could barely disguise
of the nothing of things undone,
of the boy I could not leave behind
staring from an old tale barely spun.

What is the soldier to age?
where all misery stands in line,
how many bullets fired at heroes
compares to the grief of history?
I averted my eyes as I have said
yet my mind it would not hide,
his face devoid of promises
what he'd say is all there'd be,
who sent that child to war?
with a truth that could not die
where innocence would remain
long after tears have left his eyes
even a glimpse would reveal
a human admitting every lie.

He was sorrow or so it seemed
like even his name might break your heart
born of a world the worlds forgotten
an orphan in his every weary step,
my eyes turning back as he drew level
his tongue licking at a cigarette,
that is not silence in his demeanour
it is life now emptied of sound
the life that died and yet survived
poised to die again at times request
shuffling past and then no more,
as I looked to the station clock
saw the minute hand move
to the time of my trains departure
and I ran to escape the leaving.

All that was long ago and yesterday
the world changed and changed again
with the more became the less,
old men don't seem as old anymore
my eyes look upon every image as it speaks
all lies lost to question and its scars
stories relate memories of more than event,
old man as he struggles by
unborn in the nothing he decides
giving not a breath to lifes' true portent
only a past forever described...
I sat on the train to Croydon
my foot holding open the door
a cigarette squeezed between thumb and finger
tasting the same as never before.

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