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The Old & Lonely Poet
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By Louis Gander
Other Poems by Louis Gander

The Old and Lonely Poet

On edge of arid desert set

a trailer aged in rust

with tires flattened long ago

and covered thick with dust.

A friend I'd known for many years

had lived alone inside -

and if his lamp was burning, then

I knew he hadn't died.


The lamp seemed always to be lit

but never did complain.

Then sure enough, I saw him there

through dirty window pane.

The Great Depression hurt him so.

I saw it in that place.

I saw it in his lonely words.

I saw it in his face.


The mental stress that he went through

was far too much to bear -

and would have been for anyone

if they were sitting there.

But they were not.  Just he alone

survived his great ordeal.

And his reward?  An empty can,

a cold and meager meal.


The old man couldn't hear too good.

The years had quickly passed -

so catching his attention, I

tapped loudly on the glass.

It seemed to take forever, but

he made it to the door.

Black cobwebs hung from corners and -

newspapers hid the floor.


He greeted me with friendly eyes,

skin wrinkled deep from sun.

He made me feel welcome, though

his work was never done.

I visited for quite awhile

as he kept at his rhymes.

He changed his thoughts, his lines, his words

at least a thousand times.


I said, "It must be good enough."

Replied he, "Not at all.

It doesn't capture God's great love.

This needs an overhaul.

For God is love and God is grace

in absolute perfection -

so how can I write something less

to add to this collection?


"This poetry I write for God

must always be perfected -

or basket, full of waste, is filled

with poems I've rejected."

I fell asleep while sitting there.

I woke at 3 AM

and heard him mumble something like,

"...to change the hearts of them."


Observed, I did, his wise old ways.

I'd learned all that I could -

but never measured up to him -

my writing, not as good.

I saw his great intensity.

I stayed with him for days.

I watched his sacrificial work

I saw his humble ways.


He strove to write in perfect words,

expressing his rare love

for all of those who'd done him harm

from politics above.

Forgiving them of evil deeds

had given him such peace -

that each and ev'ry word he wrote

became a masterpiece.


Though sometimes folks still speak of him,

he never set his goals -

to elevate his unknown name -

but rather save the souls -

through writings that should touch the hearts

of other eager men -

who draw attention to themselves

through selfish, prideful sin.


I once decided to return -

to visit one last time.

The old and lonely poet, though,

had written his last rhyme.

The years have passed.  Such great respect

I had for that old man.

Could I improve my poetry

for God?  He proved I can!


©2015 louis gander

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Submitted: Saturday, December 26, 2015

Last Updated: Saturday, December 26, 2015

About the Poet
Born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1954. It's the poem's message that matters- not the poet.

Other Poems by Louis Gander

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