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Intrusion Upon a Neighbor

Updated on September 26, 2017
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She happily lives in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

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A Poem About Aging


I look out through the dark night

Into the vibrantly cool

Late summer air

Across the yards of our personal lives

Onto his naked back.

Aged skin is stretched

Taut across his shoulders which

Having borne years of responsibility

Stoop slightly.

His hands are gnarled and thick.

Alone now, he plays solitaire at

His kitchen table

Seemingly left alone by all

Except for the light above his head

Which spotlights his torso and his

Hope for future years.

He knows his light burns

A bit more every day.

I turn my eyes away

To avoid further intrusion into

His fading world.

My soul aches with recognition of the

Shuffling of the cards.


This poem was written one night when I was a teenager and I happened to look into my neighbor's window from our dining room (yes, our house were that close together when I was growing up!) and saw our elderly neighbor sitting in his dining room, playing cards all by himself. Although he was married, his wife was not visible to me through the window. He looked so lonely I just had to write about it.

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    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      ocfireflies,

      Well thanks so much. It's one of my least visited but I don't want to take it down. I write more creative non-fiction than poems these days, but I have a special place in my heart for the poems I have written over the course of my lifetime.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Karen,

      I joined HP a month ago so I am enjoying hub hopping--and especially when I stumble upon really good ones like this one.

      Kim

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      ocfireflies,

      Thanks for the comment. Not many people find this poem anymore so it was nice to hear from someone who appreciated it!

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I liked how you took the moment in an elderly person's life and used it as reflection of all our lives. Nicely done.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      beverlyfaye,

      I am glad that it inspired you to reach out. So many times we take the elderly in our towns and neighborhoods for granted and don't go out of our way to pay attention to them or check in on them. They are still such a value to society if we encourage them to be included. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      GlstngRosePetals,

      Thanks. It is rather sad to read. I feel bad remembering this neighbor.

    • GlstngRosePetals profile image

      GlstngRosePetals 5 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

      Very powerful poem of aging and loss the interpitation is great. Voted up!!

    • beverlyfaye profile image

      beverlyfaye 5 years ago

      This poem does a great job of capturing the life of the aging. They are left alone and they are so often trying to fill their days and they have so little to do. I've seen it and I ache for them and I do turn my eyes away. I am guilty of that.

      Your poem has reminded me that I want to reach out to my elderly neighbours, to bring some joy to their days.

      I liked this poem. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      b.Malin,

      Thanks for you kind words. Now that I am getting older, the poem has a deeper meaning for me than in my youth. But, life goes on.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      Wow, I just breathed a Deep Sign, as I read your Poignant Poem on "Aging", Karen. My Votes of UP & Beautiful go to YOU.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      DzyMsLizzy,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I also greatly appreciate the sharing.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 5 years ago from Georgia

      shiningirisheyes,

      Thanks for stopping by. When I think of that night that I wrote this, and remember that neighbor, it does make me sad too. He has since died.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Amazing symbolism at use in this fantastic poem. Very sad and self-reflective as well.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Wow! This is a powerful poem. The way you tied everything together from the accidental intrusion to the metaphor of the cards being shuffled; it all works so well as an analogy for life.

      Vote up, beautiful, interesting, awesome and shared with followers both here and on my FaceBook page.