Old man sat there under the palm tree,
Weathered face as if chiseled in solid stone,
Dark skin and age spots evidence of
Too much time working, sweating in hot Sun.
Deep lines cast shadows on his flesh to testify
By hard steel his life has not be easy.
No prince of wealth has lived within his home.
Yet his wide brow, thin grey beard
Suggest an equality so constant with his years—
Simple, honest, determination has molded
Shape of soul that rich men have not found
Living as they do in warm beds and palaces.
He has known hunger, fear and darkness,
Walked for days in worn shoes with steady gait,
Slowly into future that, as is the case with all,
Remains unknown, unknowable
Yet put his quiet trust into the hands of God.
And that for him has been better
Than any light that promises
Known ways or bright boughs of flowers.
Directness of his eyes reveal he’s known
Grief and heavy sadness—yet the wounds
He’s carried have not made him mean.
Though he is no member of elect society,
He wears a curious crown of straw,
His gaze and straight lips give hint—
Perhaps of a rather common noblesse.
His woman, his sons and daughters,
His dog has known his warm embrace.
When winter winds sweep through his house,
He gives away his only blanket, rises early,
Admits to himself he does not know
Much at all but that a stone is heavy.
He admits his years are hasting away…
Soon his sight will dim and the tree
Where now he leans to take his meals
Will give shade to another man.
He will have a lasting rest under the grass,
Finally free of all the heavy cares,
Stone resting lightly just above his head.