brain farts

The Old Man

Posted on: April 4, 2006

There’s an old man
I pass
on the way to uni.

I pass him,
I see him,
and only today
have I come
to realize
that I see him
more often
than I do
some of

he pushes
a cart
filled to the brim
with people’s
old scraps;
forgotten momentos,
and sells them
for cash.

he pushes
this cart
with knobby hands,
stopping every
few yards
to catch
his breath,
to take
a break,
to rest
his aching back,
which is so
it looks like
he has
a writhing snake
coiled up
within him,
running down
the entire length
of his

But telling
from the tears
I saw him cry
for the very
first time
as he sat
in the April monsoon
it’s not a snake
he has
but rather
a sense
of sadness,
so deep,
so awful,
so agonizingly raw,
that it made me
and stare
as I drove past,
causing a tear
to trickle
down the length
my own

15 Responses to "The Old Man"

now i feel my heart breaking

you almost got a tear out of me too old man, or is it you Lynn who moved me with your words?

it’s a hardlife out there.

there must be something significant which had affected him for such an outpour….i wonder what’s it.

So tomorrow are you going to stop for a few minutes and see how he is?

touching poem

go carry a general conversation with him, it would mean a lot more; and it would mean the world to him that someone as espicially as young as you would actually have the heart to stop and talk to him.


There are always those people I pass and that I want to help out. There was this old woman on the champs elysees who was always shoe-less and thin as hell, screaming and crying about something (I think she’s a polish immigrant). I always want to help her (even though the last time I saw her was a year ago), but you realize that there’s no end to it. There are a million of other people who are like that. And once you start, you can’t stop.

That was sad to read. That’s how I feel about the homeless guy who started living opposite our building recently. He just sits there all day sometimes with his head in his hands and he just looks like the loneliest man on the planet. When it rains I look out to check if he’s ok and feel like I should do something, but I don’t know what.

Btw… you must like E E Cummings poems, have you ever read them?

i particularly like that bit about the scraps in his cart. the sense of loneliness that i got from the poem is simply overwhelming.

the format/shape of the poem … did you intend it to look like the old man’s back? (long, uneven spine … matched by the long, uneven lines) that’s what occurred to me anyway.

well done, Lynn. again i am amazed by your talent for observation, and your ability to convey ideas and imageries through verbal expression.

How sad…the sense of loss (whether of a loved one, of dignity, of hope) is palpable here. Far too many similar incidents the world over.

Well written and sad. I hope all is well.

Awwwwwww….. :-(

Charming and bittersweet.

Lynn, where or where are you? I am in Bangkok. Until August anyway. Give me a call 02-392-7850

it’s just so sad… it’s like u see him and this sticks in ur mind. i kinda feel sad for the old man. sometimes when I see these ppl, I usually make me feel better by hoping that their lives will soon be better… but that might not be the case and i’m just trying to fool myself. sometimes i just choose to turn away so i dun hav to feel so sad, but maybe it’s time to do something.–>

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