You can see them most evenings in the park,
Muffled and sweatered against the chill –
Or weathers decreed by peremptory wives.
The woollens, the odd walking stick mark
Them down as no terminal sentence will
As they shuffle through the tail ends of lives.
Perched or huddled like diffident crows,
You’ll find them in knots of threes or fours,
Bound by the final unuttered fear –
Which, despite their squawky petulance, shows
In the eyes of these superannuated bores.
You sense something wrong here.
Or at least curious. For given their ages,
There can’t be much more to anticipate
Than a quiet release of valedictory breath,
The desideratum of sages.
Yet not for these, for whom the killing weight
Of dread must leave little indeed for death.