Old man

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 2
A neighbouring volcano

The old man looks down from his high place, And watches, and grieves.

He waits, for he is patient, slow to anger, But when angered, terrible to behold.

He will bellow and roar, And pour forth his red, red blood to cleanse his land.

The old man, in his high and windy place, Sees all and hears all, and forgets nothing.

He watches and waits.

The young men strut around the square, Those in green, the youngest and the proudest,

Displaying their arrogance before old men and young maidens,

Their guns at their shoulders, they look neither up nor down.

For who is above them, and who can make them feel ashamed?

Such pride, such folly – they are but children.

The other young men look away, But these are proud men too.

They think of their guns hidden in wood-piles,

And they think of blood, of red, red blood, Turning brown in the dirt,

And the day when the land shall be theirs, For these are children too.

But old watches young, as gods watch men, And the old man knows who owns the land.

Be careful!  He grows angry.  Tread softly!  Look up!  Look up!

The sound of guns, the smell of death, Can wake a man, a giant, a god.

Who can want, who can need, a land drowned in blood.

Well, something of a bonus… or not, depending upon your point of view. I wrote this poem into the diary, so it merits its place, and since it references the volcano, this seemed a suitable place to put it. (The time-scale of the diary makes it impossible to know when it was actually written, as the diary at this point was hopelessly out of date.)

A little bit pompous and self-righteous, but that’s what comes with (relative) youth.

2 Responses

  1. Pamela Blair

    I thought of the terrible wars and all the “disappeared” people in Guatemala when I read this, Chris. I really liked the poem. Were they fighting (young men in green) when you were there?

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