The Old Runner
written by: Ian Fletcher
Coming home from work at dusk
I see him running lap after lap
around the perimeter of the park
or rather, plodding, I should say
as he is an ancient decrepit man
who must be eighty-five if he’s a day.
There can be no way of telling
what this relic of his generation
might have been in his prime
for he will brook no contact
with passers-by such as I,
his stony gaze cast firmly
down on the hard pavement
a few paces ahead as he runs.
Whether he was formerly
a humble retainer faithful
to some long-forgotten firm
or a driven professional
high up on the career ladder
seems to matter but little now
this man being outside everything
having lived well beyond his time.
Yet I admire him greatly
with his stubborn tenacity
as if it were only his iron will
keeping him lodged in a world
that has long since passed him by.
At the end of many a weary day
I have often comforted myself
with the consoling thought that
if he can carry on then so can I.
But recently there has been a cold spell
a freezing wind blowing through the park
and on this bleak late-November evening
there’s no sign of him in the feeble twilight
soon to be swallowed up by the blackest night.