On my street walk intriguing life stories.
Secrets are revealed in stride and posture.
Those of extreme gait are most emphatic
Yet so mystifying that I could write
For each, alternative biographies.
The woman is old yet tall and big boned.
Her upper body is angled at least
Forty five degrees to the hips and waist.
She climbs the modest hill to the bus stop
Like a mountaineer up a sheer rock face,
With stick, half an hour for fifty metres.
She never relaxes her determined scowl,
Avoiding eye contact with all who pass.
So insistently self-affirming that
To offer support would seem insulting.
Long term residents know another story.
In a wheelchair, she was pushed up the hill
By a man, for who she was little more
Than a convenient theatrical perop.
Similar age, he looked much fitter, yet
Overdramatised his toiling effort.
When a woman or girl passed he paused
To make lewd, crude and suggestive remarks.
His task gave him relative immunity.
For his charge repeated ignominy.
The man has gone. Perhaps an odd woman
Welcomed his proposal. Or another
Battered him so badly that he is
Now in timeless medical custody
Either outcome is possible in my street.
Poetic justice would have his patient
Gather her strength, murder, put the body
In the freezer. As elderly care goes
In our community, none would notice.
And the women of the locality
Would swear he had gone to Vladivostok.
Many morals for this tale are possible.
The obvious will do. Solitary
Self-sufficiency is never worse
A state than intolerable coupledom.
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Lone Walker by Martin McLean )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(14 December 1895 – 18 November 1952)
(23 June 1889 – 5 March 1966)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- Christmas Trees, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
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