It is Divine
I met an old man in the park, he stopped me on my way.
At first he struck me demented, I was late, awaited.
Yet he spoke with a mesmerising eloquence,
An appearance disarming of my misgivings
On sight of his repulsive psoriasis,
The copious scurf on his glasses.
After we had parted, I found myself unable to recall
A single word he’d said, yet it left me in a buoyant mood.
Though touched by his eccentricity, I thought no more of it.
Till ten months later his words returned, as if dictated,
Since impregnated by understanding, elusive at the time....
Excuse me young sir, you look an educated man.
Is it possible we two, our minds set as one,
Might erect a stage on which to hold a lively conversation?
I will be brief,
On the scale of eternity it will not even register.
I am a carpenter by trade, I work with my hands.
With my mind, I have journeyed,
I have let it rest lightly on the great matters.
I am no scholar or academic
But have a passing acquaintance with the classics.
I consult avidly a dictionary of Latin,
I delve in Homer, in Virgil, they encourage me
To be always looking out for the merest scintilla of wisdom
I might extract from passers-by who strike me set apart
From the usual crowd who pass blindly by.
When I first saw you coming through the gate
I said to myself, that is an educated man.
If anyone will listen to Old Len today
It will be him.
You take time to consider things at first strange
Many walk right on by without stopping for.
When I looked at you I sought the answer to this question:
Is this a man I could draw out and waylay?
It is such a heaving sea of proud lost souls about us here.
They go straight ahead in blinkers, never this or that way.
Could I, might I make use of your learning sir?
In return, perhaps, offer you something meagre of my own....
I see, looking up close, I was not wrong,
You are an educated man. But do tell me,
Do tell me if I keep you from a sweetheart.
Does she captivate your heart, pull you away from Old Len...?
I am so glad you stopped.
I do mourn a sparkling exchange of views.
So few have the time even to listen to the birds.
They have conversations, much as we do.
That one’s saying: “I’m going to have that crumb.”
The other one’s saying: “No you’re not.”
They know Len’s talking about them,
Look at the twinkle in that one’s eye.
Sir, I know you’re an educated man,
Conjugate for me, if you will, a verb.
You seem cautious of the game. Shall I precede you?
I am overjoyed by your arrival.
You are performing for me a great service.
It is Divine, to be talking to you in the park this sunny day.
I have been standing here all morning
Waiting for one such as you.
That you stopped, when you might have walked on,
It is Divine!
You appear bemused, but I foresee a time,
Two weeks, two months, a year from now,
Long after Old Len is pushing up the daisies,
You may look back to this meeting in the park.
It’s marvellous! you’ll say, Len was right,
It is Divine.
Young sir, you’re an educated man,
Do not let the seed of this day fall on stony ground.
You have studied at some of the finest institutions,
You appreciate learned words, you look hard for their meaning,
Do not let our time together here today pass away
Without letting a little of it rub off on you.
We are blessed, you and I,
Meeting here as passers-by.
You are an angel to me!
You seem unaware of it.
Is it down to Len to make it plain I wonder,
Is that my part in the bargain?
You rescued an old man drowning in loneliness today,
You listened to his foolish talk for over an hour.
How many passing here would give me that?
It is Divine.
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