Hugh Crago: ‘Old People Walk Slowly’

Old People Walk Slowly

Old people walk slowly. They shuffle,
Hobble, waddle, dodder.
Seeing their painful progress,
I speed up, assure myself
I’m not at that stage yet.

Old people tremble,
Mumble, fumble, stumble.
The rising sun dazzles them.
Anxious to get home, or catch the train,
They step off curbs as lights turn red,
And pull back, shaking. Humiliation
Lurks round every corner.
I can do it by myself, thanks.

Old people want to tell you
The things they want to tell you,
Not the things you want to hear.
How bad it was, how much it hurt,
How much they lost, how
You wouldn’t understand.

They might have much to show
If only you could reach
Them through their slow and painful
Speech, but you don’t really want to know
And they’re afraid to teach.

Hugh Crago

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