Old Man

Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity's Gate) by Van Gogh

For three years now

my grandfather

has been dying

in a little room

pill by pill

diaper by diaper

spoon by spoon.

He cannot walk.

He cannot talk.

He cannot breathe.

Who can tell his sadness?

Who can tell his rage?

With what effrontery

do we hold him by the nose

open his mouth

and thrust into it

another spoon?

To let an old man die

is no easy thing.

To let an old man die

is an empty spoon

a closed mouth

a swimming eye

a quiet gasp

a closing door

a window opening

and the stillness of a sunset

caught in the branches of a bare tree.

To let an old man die

is a kindness you must learn

before you can hope

to receive it in return.

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4 thoughts on “Old Man

  1. This time my family is experiencing same thing. My grand father 91 year of age, is going through all this. Though he walks,he eats, he talks but he is hallucinating things from his past life. He falls sometimes while walking but never allow us to hold him. He is getting wounds and scars but we are not allowed to help him out. He wants to live more, we want him to live many more years but we don’t want him to go through all these wounds and pains and past.

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