Lynn F Clemons


Approaching Footsteps - Poem by Lynn F Clemons

I can hear approaching footsteps
The keeper of the clock draws ever near
The struggle to find someone's love
Has reached an exhausting end, I fear

Today, nothing means a thing to me
The joy of living has escaped my reach
I’m no longer an asset to any I know
Just a burden my friends, quietly keep

The world really has no need for me
Just a quick passing
Maybe a mention on some lips
But easily forgotten
Buried forever in their minds
Their drive down my memory lane
Is for them, a very short trip

Never making an impact
Never changing someone’s life for better
I’m no longer worried, no one do I fear
I’m glad the keeper of the clock is coming
I just wish he'd hurry here

Topic(s) of this poem: loneliness

Form: Rhyme Royal or Rime Royale


Poet's Notes about The Poem

It was very humid this morning, not unlike most summer days in Louisville. I tied my shoes and opened the door to head out for my morning walk. As soon as I stepped out I felt a mist in the air so I reached back and retrieved my umbrella, locked the door and started my walk. The five mile walk has been a part of my daily routine, as I told my friend, if I walk every morning I at least have that much exercise completed, if nothing else. Nearing the half way point of my walk I was unusually tired this morning. Looking ahead, I saw the bus stop I pass every morning. I thought to myself, maybe I'll rest for just a couple minutes before finishing my walk. As the bus stop and the bench came into view, I noticed a solitary figure of a person at the far end of the bench. I thought to myself, this is highly unusual for anyone to be waiting, as the buses do not start their routes, on the weekends, for at least a couple more hours. I Sat down on the opposite end of the bench, leaning my umbrella against the bench between myself and the stranger. After a couple of awkward feeling minutes went by, I broke the silence and said hello to the stranger, he didn't respond. Thinking he didn't hear me I asked him how's it going? What are you doing out here so early, as the busses don't start running for a couple hours. The man just stared straight ahead, then said, 'I'm waiting'. Before I could respond he said, 'I'm waiting and listening'. I paused then told him, I don't hear anything. The man said, 'you can't hear those footsteps? ' Before I could answer he said, 'that's because you aren't listening'. The man reached into his pocket at pulled out a piece of paper that appeared to have been torn from a legal tablet. He handed it to me and said, 'here', obviously wanting me to read it. Only then did he finally look at me, when he did, I immediately noticed his eyes. I couldn't quite discern what was wrong with them, only that they looked odd. The man looked rather sullen, depressed if you will. I took the paper, unfolded it and began to read. This is the text that he had apparently written:

I can hear approaching footsteps
The keeper of the clock draws ever near
The struggle to find someone's love
Has reached an exhausting end, I fear

Today, nothing means a thing to me
The joy of living has escaped my reach
I’m no longer an asset to any I know
Just a burden my friends, quietly keep

The world really has no need for me
Just a quick passing
Maybe a mention on some lips
But easily forgotten
Buried forever in their minds
Their drive down my memory lane
Is for them, a very short trip

Never making an impact
Never changing someone’s life for better
I’m no longer worried, no one do I fear
I’m glad the keeper of the clock is coming
I just wish he'd hurry here

After I read the note, I handed it back to the stranger, once again noticing his eyes, then it dawned on me. His eyes at first did not appear to be reflecting the usual amount of light one would notice in another's eyes, only this time they had changed, his eyes were almost totally dark, as if there was nothing inside him. I closed my eyes for second to wipe away any moisture. The split second my eyes were closed I heard a loud, almost ear piercing sound. I lifted my head, turned to the man, but no one was there. I then looked to my left to see what was making the sound. The sound was coming from my alarm clock on my dresser. Totally confused I jumped up and shut it off. Wow, I said to myself, how strange. Then I recalled the words of a friend who spent years working for Hospice told me. When I asked her if the people who were nearing death were scared of dying? She said, 'no, in every case without exception, when the time came for them to pass they had already accepted it, they were at peace'. Nothing lasts for ever, all things pass away, the old circle of life saying. A sunset doesn't last forever, a sunrise doesn't last for ever. Nobody is here on Earth for ever. The man on the bench has already accepted his fate, and was waiting anxiously for the end. Nothing mattered to him. His possessions, all he had was just stuff, no longer mattered. This was not my choice of what to dream. I didn't make that decision, it was made for me. I did however awaken with an understanding I had previously missed. I got up from bed and started my day....

Comments about Approaching Footsteps by Lynn F Clemons

  • (10/28/2015 12:08:00 PM)


    So sad.....but loneliness usually is...... No one is ever a burden. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Lynn Frank Clemons (10/27/2015 7:23:00 PM)


    The poem is imbedded also in the story also. Since the poem was an intricate part of the narrative, I felt the need to leave it there as well. I apologize for any inconvenience.
    Lynn F Clemons
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, October 27, 2015



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