Ode to the Man on the Corner

While bluejays fly high, wispy clouds dot the sky

and rubber rolls by at dizzying speed.

On the corner there stands a man who demands

they follow his hands as he whispers a ‘please.’

On his hands gloves, a cap that he loves,

he perches above and feels at peace.

Glasses and beard, he’s not to be feared.

Some say it’s weird, but within he is free.

He looks right and left; is he bereft

or truly quite deft?  Perhaps it is his good deed.

Gentle the arms, with conductor’s charms

he opens his palms and bids traffic agree.

“Come this way… go there,” he signs in the air

with nary a care; “Watch my hands you will see.”

The eye studies all, the legs they stand tall,

as the mind doth recall how it all used to be.

‘Twas his job, is it true? On street corners he’d glue

his eyes to small crew when school clocks struck three.

Wearing vest, holding paddle, the curb he would straddle

as tiny ones waddle their way to safety.

White gloves and a whistle – he looked quite official

at school’s dismissal – his duty quite weighty.

For cars can be fast!  Shouldn’t go at full blast!

His service unsurpassed… but now nearing eighty…

His body betrayed by impending old age,

but he won’t be dismayed.  Just wants to be free.

Frail and slim fellow… was it eons ago?

Misses morning hellos.  Misses them greatly.

Girls’ ‘n boys’ faces, he’d pass along praises

as sorrow erases.  Just who got more glee?

In his brain it’s engrained,

and those arms that were trained – he must go, he must do, he must see.

For the chap who guides traffic, tends towards nostalgic,

might he be seraphic?  Mend the lonely…

On a crusade, the gent’s public charade.

For his safety I prayed. The lights turn quickly.

The corner it calls.  Cars and trucks they do crawl.

His mind it recalls – a professional – yes – was he.

Compel cars Stop – Go, he loved the job so,

put his heart all aglow.  Then they bid him farewell and God’s speed.

What to do then?  Stay in his den?

Can’t go back again?  Can’t do what he please?

They tell us we’re done.  Had our day in the sun.

That’s it!  No more fun?

The mind becomes stunned.  Younger ones will outrun.

It’s the end:  who has won?

But we’d only just begun!  Wrinkled face?  We must shun!

You’re no longer The One.  And a tear rolls its way down the cheek.

So he comes to the corner, a life’s gone by mourner,

looked upon as a foreigner.  Can’t somebody wave at him, please?

Work ethic intact, he’s not one to distract.

Did he make an impact?  The true judge of that is not thee.

He’ll still at dawn rise, don his hat, check the skies.

Walk outside:  realize.  It’s not all about salary.

There are things in the heart that should not come apart.

Everyday’s a fresh start.  What makes him happy?

As we all whiz on by, some ignore the old guy.

Perhaps they decry.  None so blind as those who won’t see.


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2017-09-02T04:12:53+00:00

One Comment

  1. Eldon Burk September 4, 2017 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Love this poem by Keri.

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