The boy watched the old man crouched
By the pool in the sun stirring the water
With an even hand. He was sick
And frail and his breath was slight within him.
– Soon to be Dead, called the boy, what
Do you seek in the water? The old man stirred.
– I am stirring some of tomorrow’s burdens
In the water, Pain In Your Eyes, so that
I may gauge the loads that I must bear.
Then I can rest and prepare myself for the day.
The boy laughed. – But, Soon To Be Dead,
You are of many days, what can be new
For you tomorrow? The old man said,
– Yes, Pain In Your Eyes, I am old,
But, of all the thoughts I have borne,
One is true: tomorrow is always new.
– And in your past, what has been your pleasure?
Asked the boy. The old man listed them.
– Coupling was good. I enjoyed that.
My feet warmed by the sun while reading a book.
Seeing old friends after an absence.
And peace. There was peace among the shadows.
– I should know these things, Soon To Be Dead,
Said the boy. The old man replied,
– Tomorrow’s load is too large for today.
We must carry ourselves fresh to the morning.
The old man returned to stirring the water.
The only sound was the stirring of the water.
– I should return, Soon To Be Dead, the boy said
After a pause. – The sun will soon be low.
The old man rose from his contemplations.
Gently he lifted the boy on to his shoulders.
Because the boy was sick and frail, he was not
Heavy, his breath was light within him.
The old man said, – I have carried
Heavier burdens than this in my day.
I shall carry this one again tomorrow.
He turned to the path to take the boy back.
Photo by Mohamed Nohassi via Unsplash