I've Seen Him Before


I've seen him before


The old man sitting in a lawn chair

Looking down his paved driveway

Toward the cemetery

Across the street


His back to the garage

Where his shiny Lincoln rests

And his house

Where his wife dusts

Family photos


The sunny spot he chose

Now cast in shadow

He doesn't move


Just nods as I pass by

Decidedly noncommittal


©  Copy right CPrice  2010  All rights reserved

Comments 42 comments

Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

I like this. Very nice.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Thanks for a really lovely little poem. It reminds me of the man who many years ago used to live across the road from us. He was a farmer and he worked hard all week, but on Sundays his recreation consisted of bringing a chair out to the side of the road and sitting in it to watch all the cars go by. I bet his wife used to dust pictures as well, but she wouldnt do it on a Sunday.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Robwrite,

Thanks for your support.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Thanks Christopher,

I like to sit on my porch looking to the west where most of our weather comes from, and towards the sunsets I used to miss when I worked 2nd shift. I try not to miss even one now.

This old guy sits facing north on a little traveled side street with little view of anything save the cemetery.

But I suspect he's seeing a little beyond.

Thanks for your similar story.

CP


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

A very insightful poem. An old man who sits on a chair watching the cemetery. Could it be that he sees himself there in spirit amongst the markers, knowing he will join the friends and family who have passed on before him.

His mind reflects the times of kids running around and him playing with them on the living room floor, opening up presents at Christmas together, but yet he sees his wife dusting off memories.

He is gone now yet the shadow is cast that he left behind as a reminder to you that he was once a presence in your life, he is gone now to the resting place of souls.

A man who had a life and a shiny Lincoln now rests in peace under his marker in dreams of being a watcher of the cars going by and one of them is his beautiful Lincoln.

This may be a short poem Chris but so much meaning and thought provoking verse. I love it. I rate it UP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Thanks Ken,

The Autumn air and waning sunlight seems to be having an effect on me.

I'm trying to say more with less.

I want to create vignettes...brief epiphanies that linger longer than the telling.

Thanks.

CP


Russ Baleson profile image

Russ Baleson 6 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

This one I really like. You have said so much in a wonderful short, descriptive picture. I see and feel the emotion and can see so many stories within it. Enjoy the sunsets. Russ


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Thanks Russ,

I'm trying to resist my natural tendency to paint in too much detail.

I'll trust my audience to enhance the watercolor sketch while I supply the essence.

And yes, every sunset is precious.

CP


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

I was 10 when I saw a man like this every day on my way to school and back. I couldn’t understand why he was ALWAYS sitting and staring at nothing. He never even noticed me. If I did not hear him cough, I could have thought he was a statue. His coughs sounded horrible. I wanted to help him cough – help him get rid of the ‘frogs’ in his lungs. Then one day he was not there. He died during the night. Probably of emphysema. Thereafter I’ve missed him every day. Could not pass the house without remembering him and his coughs. Deep poem, voted UP.

PS.: - Just remembered – my x-husband's grandfather died at the age og 94, and he sat for many many years on the porch staring at the cemetery where his 1st wife was buried and his own grave was waiting. But fortunately the sea was between the cemetery and the horizon :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

One is saddened by the elderly who have relinquished the present and future in favor of the past, but while life is "present" and their spheres of influence somehow capture the attentions and provoke the contemplation of others, it is real. The sadder story may be the wife inside endlessly dusting. For what, one wonders? Perhaps the children and grandchildren stop by occasionally? But would they not more enjoy finding her weaving something lovely or painting pictures - even writing on Hubpages - if done with ENTHUSIASM for LIFE rather than pushing around the debris of inanimate stuff and past tense?

It's touching, very. My George became less active and sat in his chair a lot but never in suspended animation! He wrote poetry, played his harmonica, thought of and made lists of his favorite songs he wanted to be sure to remember to play! He could match wits with anyone, though his short-term memory was "shot", making reading a problem. But something would catch his attention, and he would devote himself to it unreservedly. Occasionally he got up and putted a few practice golf balls across the carpet or went out on the lawn and "cast" his whisper-light-weight fishing pole and ultra-light line across the street with a barbless lure he may have made himself. Or he'd shoot a few practice balls across there and then have to go look for them. He sometimes gathered a little coterie of young folks around, wanting a turn at casting a line or driving a ball. He was slowed but not stopped and he brightened the day just being alive in it. He was an inspiration.

I hope your cameo is of a man who does see beyond. No one else can know, I suppose.

Thank you, Christopher for sharing this impression. I happen to like your style whether you're being concise or more lengthy. -But I can empathize - I find I can identify what I write as poetry by its brevity. Otherwise I know it's prose. LOL.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Yo Christopher! I bounced on your buttons. I ride my bike by a man in a wheel chair often. He sits a little up his driveway. I wave and he does. I try to take a pic but I'm usually with other folks and I don't get a good pic. But I hope he's entertained. Great thoughts!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Martie,

Thank you for your comments.

I like how you say "the sea was between the cemetery and the horizon".

As we each look to the horizon, a cemetery is always somewhere in the picture, and a span of fluid possibilities beckoning between.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Nellieanna,

I am presently pleasantly in poet's paradise having elicited such a heartfelt response to my meager meanderings.

I had hoped readers would view this humble sketch, this hip-shot snapshot, and experience a moment of recognition and more.

I am awestruck by the lovely interpretations and extrapolations this poem has prompted.

Thank you so much for sharing your memories of George.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Mickey,

Maybe he's just waiting for you to toss him a line.

He could navigate when you head back to Vermont.

Thanks for your comments and the fan mail.

CP


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 6 years ago

Simply wonderful that we all can live in many diferent places around the world and have the same experience.I also had a man who often sat in front of his house.If and when we had the time(since we were young) we use to sit with him and talk.He would share so many wonderful stories.Unfortunately he is gone and with him his stories disappeared.Until now he has returned and the smile I use to have when he would talk and only few would listen.I always felt priveleged that he took time to spend with us. Some how I long to be that man who had the time to share his life with the world.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

If only people would slow down enough to notice and listen.

I hope you get the chance to pass on some of his stories so they aren't forever lost.

And I'm sure you have stories of your own.

We're lucky, we have a venue to share our stories here on hubpages and an audience ready to listen.

Unfold the lawn chair while we gather 'round your feet, and we'll take turns telling tales.

CP


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

What a talented person you are!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Your recognition would suffice

But with your praise is doubly nice.

Thank you very much.

CP


lalesu profile image

lalesu 6 years ago from south of the Mason-Dixon

Christopher, your beautiful vignette paints an entire mural in my mind of all the people this man must have passed in his life. It makes me wonder if once in a busier life he might not have penned verses of just such a scene. Does he long for those days or is he just thankful for the rest that he's earned?...I wonder what I will be doing, whether I will be inside dusting the past, looking toward death or daring it to break my hip on a mountaintop...I hope, the latter! Ha! Ha! ~ Laura


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Christopher Price, Sir! a beautiful and awesome article that may be brief but the brevity is long lasting leaving one to travel far. I've an old rocker and hammock to while away a day just listening and watching the world here go by. No people just animals but I can get my fill of people when I go to town.

Great piece voted up, 50


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Laura,

...our place in the sun...some of us chase after it our whole lifetimes...finally, whether we attain it or not, we may come to realize that spot is ever moving, the shadows creeping closer...do we move to chase it further, or accept the shade, savor the journey and rest in the memories?

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

50 my friend,

I like to sit on my porch looking west toward the setting sun while the dogs sniff around and run and bump one another growling pseudo-threats.

As I watch the sun slip closer to the horizon I'll just smile a bit thinking you may be doing the same a little later, a couple time zones to the west.

I'm glad you liked this poem. I'm rather fond of it too.

CP


dianeaugust profile image

dianeaugust 6 years ago from Tennessee

Yes. I see what you are saying about the similarities. This poem is marvelous--I love the detail of the wife dusting of the shadow--shiny Lincoln--lawn chair. Those specific images secure the reader in the moment, therefore, support the meaning of the poem in their concrete nature. Excellent. Thanks for the recommend. DA


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Diane, thank you.

Your comment reads like a dissertation, and is most welcome.

It is refreshing to have my efforts examined with an analytical eye as well as an artistic sensibility.

And I am exceedingly pleased you approve.

Please come back and browse.

CP


Yess! 6 years ago

I think I've seen this same man. Day after day after day- watching, waiting- his life slowly passes by. I say to myself, "One day, I'm going to rattle that man's chair and let him know there's more life to live out there." Of course I never do, then one day the man and his chair are gone and I am burdened with regret. Do not become complacent. Yes, we all will die but that doesn't mean we have to do so readily, or willingly. Thank you for this lovely reminder of what I never want to become! :)


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Yess!

This old guy must really get around, so many here say they have seen him!

I know when I passed by he seemed somehow iconic, an ancient,weathered leather-bound volume rife with tales waiting to be shared.

We can each only hope that before it is too late that we have someone to listen.

CP


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

What a wonderful tribute to a life lived where the hustle and bustle is but a fading memory, where the inevitable ending is softened in the knowledge that he's too old to die young, but old enough to say the job was done.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Thanks Keith,

Personally, when I set up my lawn chair looking down the driveway, I hope to be on a street where the college girls walk by to their cars after class...maybe after cheer-leading practice.

Then I'll be like your dog Bosley chasing a car...wouldn't know what to do if he caught one!

Cheers.

CP


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

This was great! Made me think of my dad; my mother always cleaning, and my dad just out enjoying the view! Thanks for the memory! Kaie


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

You're welcome Kaie.

Thanks for visiting.

CP


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, this reminded me of my grandad, he never sat looking at a cemetery, but he used to sit outside the front door and just gaze into the distance. I don't think he was looking outwards, though, I think he was looking within, thanks nell


Doug Turner Jr. 5 years ago

Those casual old-timers are so good at just taking it as it comes. They've tried to kick, fight and scream and realized: what's the use? I'm just going to relax in this chair and take it as it comes. Thanks CP.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Nell;

It seems to me the distance between youth and old age is about that of wishful to wistful. When our sight diminishes our insight increases.

CP


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Thanks Doug;

Wisdom can be the ability to resist a little less, accept a little more, while never giving in.

CP


quicksand profile image

quicksand 5 years ago

Hi Chris, this one reminds me of how time flies. Cheers!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

It surely does. I'm happy you could spare enough to visit.

CP


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago

Boy have I known some like this Chris , too many! in fact. Great write!.....


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

ahorseback:

He never was heard to say "Get off my lawn". He may have been one in a million! :{)

CP


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

It's a little sad and poignant...but very well written. Thanks for sharing.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

b. Malin:

It's been fascinating for me to read the comments this poem has garnered. People bring so much of themselves to its interpretation. I find it very gratifying that a mere 58 words can cause such a cascade of comments.

Thank you for yours. :{)

CP


Little Kim profile image

Little Kim 5 years ago from Any town U.S.A.

Sad even though short poem. Wow first thought that popped into my head is he is nodding to death. So sad.


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 5 years ago from Vermont, USA Author

Little Kim-

We all share a nodding acquaintance with Death...anticipating the embrace...playing hard to get.

CP

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