ONCE A MAN
How often as we journey
Is there some special touch?
A chance meeting with a stranger
Which affects us very much.
A helpful hand lent to one
Whose battle is nearly done,
And words from him brought to me
An awareness of a battle won.
A quiet and gentle man
Of almost eighty seven years
And when I heard what he had said,
I wiped away my tears.
“Thankyou Dear” is what he said
“For my glasses and my drink”
And oh how much these words of his
Made me stop and think!
“Once a man and twice a child”
Were the words he said to me
And as I thought about what he said ~
I could clearly see.
We talked about growing old
And how the wheel of life turns,
And I gently covered him
And left him to the peace he yearns.
His words affected my thoughts
And will stay with me always
How right he was about “once a man”
And dependency at the end of his days.
How well I understood his words
As I saw the kindly smile
On the face of this beautiful soul
Who had traveled many a mile.
I did not just see a man
Now getting older in years,
I saw the beautiful baby
And I saw his Mother’s tears.
I saw the man he had become
And how much his life has changed.
I had a glimpse of life for us all
And how our days are thus arranged.
His words will stay with me
For the measure of my days,
And I hope that when I am old
I have some of his charming ways.
I covered him gently,
And quietly turned out his light
I knew his words would change me
And I whispered a quiet “Goodnight.”
I doubt that this man would ever know
That words from him so soft and mild
Will always bring a warm memory
“Once a man – twice a child.”
Linda J. Vaughan
August 28th. 2002
Mr. O'Byrne was a patient in the next bed to my Father in hospital.
Written with Mr. O’Byrne in mind – they were his words.
I finished this piece today.
© Linda J. Vaughan
May 20th. 2011