Thursday, January 28, 2010


Hold on
old man
and do not go -
the sun is low but has not set;

there still is snow
upon your stoop,
your floor needs sweeping yet.

I’d like to stay
but have to go.
Someone else
must clear the snow.

Hold on
old man
and do not go -
the sky is hung with twilight grey;

there still is snow
upon your walk,
and much we have to say.

I hear my name
and have to go.
Someone else
must clear the snow.

Hold on
old man
and do not go -
turn away that shadow’s reach;

there still is snow
upon your roof,
and much

you have
to teach.

Kiss me, boy,
before I go.
Take my hand
and watch it snow.


Shaista (Lupus in Flight) said...

So lyrical and poignant.. I am very happy to have read it unexpectedly today :)

Karen said...

I am wiping my eyes as I type this. The images of twilight and snow upon the roof are apt representations for old age and death. The voice of the younger one, pleading that the old man stay - reasoning with him that his work is not yet finished - represents all of us left behind, feeling abandoned and/or orphaned and unprepared to step into the other's position. The old man's feelings about his fate are evidenced by his dispassionate acceptance and compassion for the younger one: "Someone else/must clear the snow"..."Take my hand/and watch it snow."

This is beautifully perceptive of both roles and oddly comforting to those of us in one place or the other.

BloggerMouth said...

Reminds me of grammy. I often think how selfish we get when we wish for people to not die when they want to go. Beautiful poem.

catvibe said...

Poignant and beautiful Joaquin. Particular metaphors for the day because it is snowing here today. But I love the beauty of the pleading of the one who wants things to stay the same, and the one who is ready to move on.

Jannie Funster said...

You did it again, moved me to tears. So beautiful, Joaquin.

Sarah Hina said...

Warm hands, cold snow. Both are true, and you married them perfectly within that shadow's long reach.

This is a poem that makes me love life. With all its bittersweet contractions. Its births, and departures.

So beautiful, Joaquin.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

So lovely and affecting, the whole poem - the last stanza is stunning. You have come to stanzaic terms here with life and death - showing us the very marrow of this world and the penumbra of the next. With deep admiration...

Aniket said...

What can I say that I haven't said already. You are Zizou with words, the perfect play maker. You truly are an artist.

Thanks Kaye for 'penumbra'. Its a new word to learn for me, and I love it!

joaquin carvel said...

shaista - thank you - happy you dropped in - will be swinging by your place soon.

karen - yes - there is something "oddly comforting" about accepting the inevitable. and maybe in how we will usually find ourselves in both places eventually. thank you.

blo-mo - it is selfish - but a good kind of selfish i think - or at least the kind of selfish that makes sense. thank you.

cat - thank you - hope the snow is more beautiful than bountiful for you!

jannie - thank you - i owe you a tissue. :)

sarah - that may be as high an ambition as a poem can have. thank you.

k - i don't think i realized i was coming to terms until after i wrote it - but that's it. thank you - with mutual admiration.

aniket - wow - thank you (sans the infamous headbutt, i hope)! and a double thanks to k for adding penumbra to my vocabulary as well.

Julie said...

So beautiful, Joaquin. It is exactly how I felt when my grandfather was dying. How I wanted him to stay. It also makes me think of Dylan Thomas. Wonderful work.

maaga..... said...

this made me think of my grandfather who is still here but on his way out...

and now i'm lost for words