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Grayish in Color and Hung Askew

Updated on February 5, 2015

He said he’d retire in a year’s time,

By the middle of the summer

His health began to decline,

Cancer cells were on the attack,

He coughed in fits,

A deep, rasping hack,

Then the fever hits,

He was weak and it would show,

Life was lingering and slow,

He just felt like the living dead,

Every morning he found it difficult

To simply get out of bed,

The whites of his eyes

Were stained red,

He was always exhausted

No matter how much he slept,

His family would not complain

As they just quietly wept,

But he felt guilty just the same,

Looking into his wife’s eyes,

And forgetting her name,

His skin was pale,

And he was so weak and frail,

So he’d clean up less and less,

His bedroom was a blackened mess,

The photos of his family had vibrant colors

That was still peeking through,

But his memories were charred,

Grayish in color and hung askew.

© 2013 Frank Atanacio

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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Such a sad way to go.

      Up, Awesome and sharing.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 4 years ago

      Hi Frank.

      A very sad poem and a future that will hit most of us in the end.

      Voted up and sharing.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Oh Frank.. that was my mom.. I am crying.. thank you for sharing.. I was living through your poem..

      blessings

      Debbie

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 4 years ago from California

      Sad write Frank--but you nailed it--left me with a clear picture--

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      A very vivid depiction of a man's declining health, and the sadness that surrounds it...there is an extra sadness to this as he is struggling to reach retirement, and he may not make it...great work Frank:-))

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Great hub Frank, and sad too.

      I worked with a man who looked forward so much to reaching retirement age. Though diabetic, he did not follow a proper diet, was stressed about his job constantly, and did not trust his docs. He was almost sixty-five when he died of a heart attack at home in December 2012.

      I am in great health, but the stress there was a killer, am glad to be gone.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, my goodness Frank,

      This is writing at its very best. Superb. Wow, I could feel the pain and suffering of all . . . and the view of life from his perspective is written so vividly . . . that very dim and graying of a life that is dying.

      Voted way up ++++ and sharing

      God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much Justasksusan and Ghaelach.. and thank you too Our Ms Brooks Audrey, and Valleypoet for your comments :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      Thank you X-man and Faith bless you guys :)

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Guess we have all witnessed this at some time...you brought it out. Great write.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 4 years ago from Scotland

      You have spoken the truth; the sadness and captured it. Very well written.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Wandering down your path of sadness was magical. Congratulations and thank you

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      An emotional journey. This is one of the worst things that a family can have to go through and it leaves many scars. You brought out all the pain and frustration.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      Superb imagery!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much for reading Jackie, Mhatter, Gypsy, Anna and Cat

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Frank, a sad and lonely way to end a life, but unfortunately, also very real for many.

      Great job, awesome writing.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      It is difficult to watch a dying man/woman. And very sad to comprehend how he feels.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Some see it in different colors, but is the experience all must face. We share the joys and sometimes we have to be bold enough to share the sorrows. Thank you, Frank.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much tobusiness Vin and Ms Dora for stopping by :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      But he felt guilty just the same,

      Looking into his wife’s eyes,

      And forgetting her name,

      So sad but also shows your talent at its best. Wonderful frank and here's to many many more . Have a wonderful day.

      Eddy.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

      It's hard to know what to say about this one except to say what you meant to get across came across strong and was felt deeply. Impressive, Frank; but that's not an unusual impression coming from your creative powers.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Eddy and thank you so much Alastar bless you both :)

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Frank this is awesome and you've managed to get deep down into the imagery and sensations of death itself. Yet this has a beauty as well as a sadness!! I loved this poem!!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      aaawww thank you so much Seeker

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      You painted a very good picture through the use of imagery. voting up!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks so much love doc :)

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      That's how I want to go Frank so you can write about me and make it a true story.

      You are still, and forever will be, one of my favorite writers , Sir Frank.

      You always rock the halls of the Hub in such a hall of fame way.

      lake erie time 2:11pm

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      sad way to go epi :) bless you

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Frank - This was quite different because I kept waiting for the crime or the discovery of the victim. (guess I should not pigeon-hole your work.) Very good dark and descriptive imagery. Theresa

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      gosh...it is so sad. Wishing him peace though!

      Great write up, Frank

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks so much Ruch :) and you too Phdast

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Just read this again Frank. Such a moving poem, such striking images. Well worth reading again. Hope all is well with you. Theresa

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks again Phdast 7 bless you

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      You have captured the pain and suffering here Frank. Each line of this poem is filled with emotion.

      Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 4 years ago from Close to Heaven

      Wow. Great writing as always Frank. :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      thanks so much Caroline, and you too Til bless you guys :)

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Great vignette. It's so tragic that many people work hard their whole lives, dreaming of a retirement they may not get to enjoy. I thought the imagery in the last section was amazing:

      "His bedroom was a blackened mess,

      The photos of his family had vibrant colors

      That was still peeking through,

      But his memories were charred,

      Grayish in color and hung askew."

      Wow.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

      thank you so much for stopping by MrsBrownParlour :)

    • SkySlave profile image

      Skyler DeCristoforo 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the raw emotion in this poem. Very well written!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      thank you skyslave :)

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Ohhh! the poor guy. This poem sure reflects how it is for so many people. Very well-written and emotional, Frank.

      Up,A,I and H+

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      thank you my dear friend Phyllis

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Your talents are endless. No matter what subject you choose to write about or how you choose to do it, it not only comes out right but it draws us in.

      Voted up, awesome, and interesting.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Oh my Frank--hadn't read this in a while--so very sad!

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 2 years ago from Earth

      Charred memories, great line.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      There are surely times when life is "askew." One nice thing about mortality is that such sufferings were never intended to be endless, though at times it can feel as if they are. Remembering that we set a standard for those who follow after us, we endure.

    • taiwokareem profile image

      Taiwo Kareem 2 years ago from Salford

      this is a lovely poem even though it paints a sad picture of a cancer victim. One of my fav teacher once had cancer and i always worried day and night about him. Thank God he is okay now even though he no longer teaches me again

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      Til and Audrey thank you so much for visiting

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Deal and Perspycacious for visiting my page :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      thank you taiwokareem for checking out my poem

    • taiwokareem profile image

      Taiwo Kareem 2 years ago from Salford

      you are welcome frank

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      and thank you again Taiwokareem :)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Sad and heart rending, it is sad to watch helplessly without being able to help the person who is suffering. Great write.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image
      Author

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      thank you Vellur

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