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The Old Runner

written by: Ian Fletcher

@ian.fletcher.50

 

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.

Ian Fletcher

Ian Fletcher

Born and raised in Cardiff, Wales, Ian has an MA in English from Oxford University. He lives in Taiwan with his wife, two daughters and cat. He teaches English in a high school. He has had poems and short stories published in Tuck Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, 1947 A Literary Journal, Spillwords Press, Dead Snakes, Your One Phone Call, Schlock! Webzine, Short-story.me, Literary Yard, Indian Periodical, Anotherealm, Under the Bed, A Story In 100 Words, Poems and Poetry, Friday Flash Fiction, and in various anthologies.
Ian Fletcher

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