Gieve Patel

(18 August 1940 - / Mumbai / India)

Old Man's Death - Poem by Gieve Patel

There may be a very small comfort
In knowing yourself finally
Useless – when even grandchildren
Have grown beyond your love,
And your would-be widow
Has outhobbled you and
Wont be around to break with
One or two of her last thick tears,
And not caring much for
Your fellowmen, the doctors
Wont get your body –
To know how simply you
Will be bundled away, startling
A lifelong friend who finds
He cannot mourn
At the quick and easy changes:
A sprinkling of water,
The disappearance of an odour,
A turn of bed-sheets, leaving
A bed, a chair,
Perhaps a whole room,
With clarity in them.

[From: Poems; Publisher: Nissim Ezekiel, Mumbai, 1966]

Comments about Old Man's Death by Gieve Patel

  • (3/24/2019 11:52:00 PM)

    Birth and death are 2 definite destinations in a living beings life and both have their own celebrations, as far as human beings are concerned. Thanks for sharing. (Report)Reply

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  • Susan Williams (1/19/2016 3:19:00 PM)

    The truth of this poem hurts. So many people outlive their loved ones, outlive any joy in life itself. May I pass surrounded by my loved ones and in control of my mind and able to regret leaving this life while looking forward to the next. (Report)Reply

    23 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Paul Reed (1/19/2016 4:41:00 AM)

    We are left with an empty room and sadness. A poignant and sensitive poem, tenderly written but reinforced with truth. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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