C.J. Heck

Rookie - 250 Points (August 10 / Born in Columbus OH - living in Florida)

The Old Folks - Poem by C.J. Heck

While sitting on a park bench reading
I overheard a man nearby
talking with his grandson.

The grandson asked why there were
so many old folks in the park every day.
The grandfather told him perhaps they were
just too alone at home to stay there.

Maybe they needed to be with other
old folks where they could share old jokes
or play a game of bocce ball
as they live in the park till dark.

Maybe remembering names
became a game to ignore their pain
and the daily checkers games felt sane.

Maybe to make time fly they antagonize
or criticize, sometimes even acting wise
till twilight comes to bring the night.

Then they wave goodbye,
and God forgives the little white lie...
that they look forward to tomorrow.
Then they go home again
and back into the past, alone.

The grandson nodded.
Then he asked the grampa
how he knew so much.

The grampa was quiet for awhile.
Then he told the boy
when you got to be his age,
there were some things
you just know.

Comments about The Old Folks by C.J. Heck

  • (1/7/2006 6:02:00 PM)

    Aah, C.J.. This is so beautiful and tender. I like it very much.

    I think the elderly are the forgotten generation. Having once worked in a nursing home I saw how many of them were just kind of dropped off there, you know? Few of them ever had visitors, and simple things like doing the ladies' hair or paintng their fingernails made a huge difference to them. They would smile from ear to ear when they looked in the mirror and saw their faces with make-up and their hair all curled and fancy. It made them feel human again - alive...significant.

    Well done, C.J. A beautiful way to bring an important subject to light. Thanks for sharing.

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  • (1/6/2006 9:45:00 AM)

    What a beautiful, sensitive poem! Simple words are the strongest, because they covey the sincerity of the speaker, a speaker who is able to realize the beauty, & the poetry in things we don't often pay attention to, or take too easily for granted.

    The straightforward narrative quality of the poem is another aspect which transmits the speaker's honest feeling for the main subject of her poem-the experience of the old man, & the equally simple, straightforward conversation between him & his grandson.

    The imagery is very precise, clear, & well-chosen to help the reader picture in his/her mind a scene which maybe he/she has seen other times in life, but which maybe he/she had not realized in all its beauty & significance - the loneliness of age & the wisdom of the old folks who surround us. & how hard it is to acquire wisdom - it takes a whole lifetime to arrive at just that significant moment, which the poem so beautifully expresses, when there are things that 'you just know.'

    Wonderful work! One of the best poems I've read on PoemHunter so far.
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  • (1/5/2006 1:11:00 AM)

    I love my Garnny dave xxxxxx Kiss HUG (Report) Reply

  • (1/4/2006 8:17:00 PM)

    I think about my two lovely old parents, thanks, C.J. (Report) Reply

  • (1/4/2006 6:09:00 PM)

    A touching and beautiful poem, CJ! Thank you for this one. It is a wonderful reminder of both the inevitability of aging and how the elderly seek to pass the time remaining to them and the juxtaposition of the young boy's enquiry and grandfather's enigmatic response is very to the point. There is no way the young can understand. Life is all ahead of them and for far too many of the elderly their lives seem far behind them. (Of course the fact that life doesn't have to be over and that there are other dreams we can dream to keep us young and that so many miss it, seems to me a strong, though unspoken, point of this poem. But I'm probably just projecting.

    With warm regards,

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  • (1/4/2006 12:41:00 PM)

    A touching and warm piece, CJ examinig how circumstances force us into groups of our own version of humanity, thus cutting us off from it. This is what is entirely suggested by the Grandpa's response to the boy with whom he cannot share that knowledge.

    Excellent work CJ.
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  • (1/4/2006 8:28:00 AM)

    The flip comment would be to say 'It takes one to know one'. However it's only with your compassionate feelings toward other people CJ, you are able to put into words such a profound relationship.
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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 4, 2006

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