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The Old Iron Bench

Updated on February 13, 2012
copyright by Phoenix51
copyright by Phoenix51 | Source

Older and alone is not a state void of emotion. It is, indeed, filled to the brim with self-reflection, longing, memories and dreams. Hours there linger. The sand of the hourglass falls more slowly. Perception is crystal clear and yet fades to shades and hues unseen by couples, friends and families.

There is an older person, whether a man or a woman is not important, it is a human being. I know you’ve seen them. They sit on that old iron bench which has held so many young lovers, mothers with their children, and the bodies, deep, in a wine induced slumber, that its metal has conformed to the curves of all who have spent time there. This old soul comes to sit as well.

You pass by them, hurrying to your destination unaware of the blessing of having somewhere to go, some place you are expected. You may glance at your watch and curse the shortness of time, never enough of it to accomplish all that needs done. They notice you though. They see everyone and they watch, sometimes with curiosity, sometimes longing, at each and every individual and especially the couples who walk by. In their minds, a kaleidoscope of scenes replay for the hundredth time and they are walking arm in arm with their lover or pushing their child in a stroller.

The sounds are a vital part of their visit to the bench. Laughter of children drifting on sweet currents of air cause a flood of memories and they are again playing with friends, perhaps a simple game of tag or a heart pounding round of hide and seek. Their strong young legs may be chasing after their own children who are running excitedly toward the playground or they may be balancing on a log, watching a bullfrog in anticipation of catching it in a jar and taking it home as a new pet.

Some memories may cause a bittersweet tear to form and slide down a face etched with experience, but if you look closely, the edge of their lips holds a tender smile too, for that which was.

Thorns without roses
Thorns without roses | Source

Young and alone is a much more painful state of being, I believe. There are not so many times to recall that assure life will go on and there will be moments when all is well in their lives. Young and alone can mean you see only the thorns, every scene is out of balance and you are always missing from the picture. No one to eat lunch with at school, the party that everyone in the entire freshman class was invited … except for you, never having clothes or shoes that are in fashion but hand-me-downs that are ill-fitting and scream SOOO last year, or longer. Your body is growing in disproportionate spurts and your feet are so large you can trip over thread, your hormones have you on a roller coaster of having to hold your books over your crotch most of the day or you are crying uncontrollably because another pimple the size of Mt. Everest has appeared on your face … and it’s picture day.

These poor young souls come to the bench too, kicking at the dirt below and hit the bench with clenched fists trying to pound out the complete hopelessness of their lives. The metal is as unyielding as the group of popular kids who push others into lockers as they rush past to meet their friends between classes. Alone on the bench or alone in the empty house where parents have to work too many hours and too many jobs just to survive, it doesn’t matter. These young people are alone.

Vision Askew
Vision Askew | Source

There are other people who come here. Their ages as varied as their stories, yet, they are woven together by the invisible thread of regret. They may be divorced, many self medicate with drugs or alcohol or turn to food for their comfort, some even cut themselves to control where the pain comes from and how deep it will scar. Their view is obstructed and distorted by pain, unforgiving of others or themselves their eyes fall upon nothing that brings peace or even a small bit of joy. They take no delight in the laughter of children nor do they notice those who stroll past and allow memories to take them to a time when their souls were still gentle and hope was always an option. Some sit alone because the backs of loved ones is all they ever see but some have broken away, running from or running to means the same as long as they can remove themselves. Sounds come from within, a whimper builds to a groan and they struggle to hold in the scream that they would let free if only they could be assured that it would ever end.


Submit a Comment

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from On the edge

    Well thanks so much Le. I had fun taking the pictures and playing around with the different photo applications to make things look different.

  • stars439 profile image


    6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    Could not resist another comment on this hub. The color bursts in the photgraph are so beautiful. Winter is awesome, and so is this wonderful hub. GBY.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from On the edge

    Much appreciated PDXK for your time and comment!

  • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W Price 

    6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

    i enjoyed this, sheryl. up, pinned, et al.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from On the edge

    sholland10, you flatter but I am pleased that you enjoyed this. Thanks so much for your time to read and for your lovely comments!

  • sholland10 profile image

    Susan Holland 

    6 years ago from Southwest Missouri

    Poohgranma, I could feel every word-laced scene. The lonely bench that sees everything. What a beautiful piece of work. Real literature. Votes and shared! :-)

  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 

    7 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

    Poohgranma, What a profound look at the different struggles and aspects of life, unique for each person. Very well-written with very keen insight. It is a look at something many people are not even aware of. Thank you for such a thought-provoking look at life on different levels.

  • bloggering profile image


    7 years ago from Southern California

    Very nice - really enjoyed this!

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    stars - Hello my friend. I am so happy to see you up from your sick bed and traveling around the hubs. I always appreciate seeing you and am thankful for your supportive comments.

    rwelton - I was so very surprised and honored that you spent some of your precious time reading here. I have been reading and voting at your hubs but have not left comments as time and energy didn't allow it then. What you've said here means a lot to me. Thank-you.

    K. Burns - Your comments are so lovely I should bundle them all into a bouquet and tie them with a ribbon for safe-keeping. Your support through everything, when your own shoulders were bowed the responsibilities far beyond human comprehension, has been nothing short of amazing. Thank- you sweet lady.

    mckbirdbks - I was delighted to see that you have visited and that you approve of my photos and writing. I was waiting atop a little hill to pick up my granddaughter from school and found the most wonderful moments to capture. For once, I had my camera handy and took a few shots though the sun was so bright I could barely see the lcd screen. One day maybe I'll splurge on a "real" camera and just go wild shooting photos of most everything ... ha ha ha. I am humbled by your visit and comments, truly.

  • mckbirdbks profile image


    7 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

    This is a wonderful Hub. The pictures woven with your words and the photographs captured by your imagination. Truly remarkable.

  • K. Burns Darling profile image

    Kristen Burns-Darling 

    7 years ago from Orange County, California

    Sherry this is absolutely one of your most awesome pieces! It is haunting and sad, but at the same time it is insightful and painfully beautiful. It speaks like a whisper to my heart, not a timid or shy whisper, more as if it is divulging to me a sacred and powerful secret. Outstanding my friend! Voted Up and all the way across the board!

  • rwelton profile image


    7 years ago from Sacramento CA

    This is absolutely the best piece of writing I have seen in many a day. Outstanding. I have read it twice and it just gets better.


  • stars439 profile image


    7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    A wonderful hub. A slice of life in the brisk of winter. You captured so much from a simple old steel bench. Your mind is like a fine jewel that will reap for you what you desire of it in awesome details. God Bless You and Gary, and your loved ones.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    I am honored with new guests to my hub. ahorseback, I know and respect your work well. When I saw this bench it seemed to have a great deal to tell. I'll have to go back, sit a while and see if it will share more secrets.

    I look forward to reading the hubs of Momma Mia and, justmyopinion, I did read both of your hubs but feel you may be pulling a spoof on a friend. Perhaps not, either way, thanks to each of you for reading and commenting.

  • justmyopiniontoo profile image


    7 years ago

    Nicely written with a deep emotional background. This hub will be familiar to many people and may cause others to think again when they see someone sitting on their own. Awesome!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Very Insightful , Pooh, I often think this way in old buildings . The stories hidden in the railings , the empty rooms , the hallways .Awesome.

  • Momma Mia profile image

    Momma Mia 

    7 years ago from North Carolina

    Beautiful and soft spoken with large emotions! Excellent read here! Thank you for sharing!



  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    What a generous review of my first hub on over a month and what a wonderful feeling to be welcomed so warmly back into the word of expressing emotions in words and photos. I've missed doing this but lack of time a severe case of writer's block has kept me silent. You honor me by reading, let alone with your glowing compliments and observations. Thank you dear friend.

  • saddlerider1 profile image


    7 years ago

    This is one of the best reads I've had the pleasure to read at the Hubs, I am bookmarking this to read again and again. My how you've brilliantly weaved your words, you had me spellbound here my friend. Yes the steely lone bench can tell many stories and as we both know there are a thousands to be told in our Naked cities.

    I didn't experience much joy from the people you portrayed sitting there. I saw Hollow forlorn eyes, empty souls, heartaches, sadness, addictions, tiredness, fed up with living, unkempt, badly dressed, hunger, thirst, needs, hope? people passing with regret, rude, nose stuck up in the air, looking down on, cruel, mean and disgust. I am sharing this at my FP and tweeting, it needs to get out there for thousands to read.

    A masterpiece my dear, simply brilliant. Bravo, now please take a bow for the applause you are receiving.


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