Biographical Poetry posted November 22, 2016


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The Old Man

by ciliverde



He stared at me with rheumy eyes,
an old and broken man;
his gentle mien a thin disguise,
this elder of the clan.

          He whispered then, "Oh stay, you see
          I'm all alone, so pity me."
          With sickened heart, I heard his plea,

and felt him grasp my hand.

He played upon my sympathies;
my good and decent heart.
I wondered if his memories
had truly come apart.

            "I can't recall, though you have asked,
            what happened in that distant past,
            my actions, surely you've miscast,

I played no evil part."

I thought of all that he had done,
and not so long ago,
to brothers, sisters, sister's son -
the tears began to flow

           for children who lived steeped in fear,
           in tortured, bloody atmosphere,
           and all these years he'd kept them near,

their stunted lives to grow.

Now old, alone, I pitied him,
though sickened in my soul.
Repulsion heaved, my thoughts were grim;
so trapped within my role.

           I thought about his hateful life,
           his beastly mind and lying wife;
           I thought to raise a carving knife -

let justice take it's toll.

Instead I sat upon a chair
inside his tiny room
to spend a night in trembling prayer,
the place so like a tomb.

          I'd make my way by morning light
          with sober brow and inner plight
           my duty done, and then my right -

to leave him to his doom.


 


Recognized


This is based on a true story. A friend of ours took an old relative (his wife's uncle) to a senior care home last weekend. The old man was afraid to stay alone and asked our friend to stay with him. It turns out, Uncle Dom was a child molester - he'd abused his brothers and sister, his children, niece and nephew. None of the family had spoken out against him, in spite of the abuse being "known". At this point he denies any memory of doing the things they say he did. Our friend feels sickened by him, yet also had a kind of pity for him at the same time.
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