By Maurice Young (1972)
There’s a lonely old man away, way high up on a hill;
puffing vainly on his pipe amidst the stench in the chill
that his angry smoldering fires have been unable to kill
in spite of his will.
He sits fanning ashes from which come no flames
While fantasies from the fifties flow fleetingly down the drain
And yet they all seemed so sane …
Frantically he runs, unrelenting in a race for which
there is no finish line but only those obstacles that fear and mortality
have cast in his path.
Laughter seems so foreign as joy is diminished by pain
To this despairing old man sitting high on the hill
Puffing vainly on his pipe which is inaccessible to the flame
That might burn away the stench and ease the strain
on the malignant old man sitting high on the hill
awaiting the rain.
And while facing the north and in spite of his pain
he silently concedes while pummeled by thunder and rain
that “I never did really know
what time it is …”
Maurice Young has been writing poetry since 1963 when a poem he wrote as a seventh grader lamenting the death of President Kennedy, “Our Captain Is Gone,” won a prize and was published in the Hartford (Connecticut) Courant.