Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Encounter with an Old Man

Today I gave an old man tobacco
Wrapped in polythene, given with a smile

He raised his head and looked at my eyes
Fair and square, as if by looking at them

He could look through my heart
I looked on, unsure about the wisdom of my act

When he smiled to expose his toothless gums
His palms outstretched as if on prayer

He stamped his feet around, waving the tobacco
The object of his delight, I never saw an old man happy

He spat on my palms and his, then rubbed them in my armpits
And my forehead and toes, saying:

“ My Child, let Tororot, the God of the Rising Sun
Brighten your path, whatever your heart conceives

Let it come to fruition, may your enemies scatter
And be trapped in panyirit, may your children

Be the sons and daughters of this land,
When am long gone to join my ancestors

May the fireplace of your hut never be dark
May your bulls grow big horns

May milk never lack in your gourds
May other elders listen to you in kokwo

C) Lorot Salem 2011


Andy said...

What a beautiful blessing you received for so small a gift.

In my humble opinion, it's not the size of the gift, but the heart of the giver that means the most. The old man, in his wisdom, could see into your heart and could read the humility there.

Beautifully told, as usual, Salem.

Raining Iguanas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raining Iguanas said...

From an old man, to a young man, about an old man-thank your for this piece. May your heart and spirit continue to flourish along with your writing.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh Salem, you have done it again. Hey, I just finished writing a poem about an elderly woman - we are on the same frequency. I so love this. I can see his sparkling eyes and his toothless smile and I LOVE the poetry and beauty of his blessing........HE could write for Poets United!! A beautiful moment captured and shared. Thank you so much for the sunshine of your heart.

Salem Lorot said...

@ Andy, what a keen observation there good friend. I agree--totally. It is all in the heart.

@ Raining Iguanas, what a line " from an old man, to a young man, about an old man". That could as well be the dedication of this poem. Thank you for your prayers. I pray for you too my brother.

@ Sherry Blue Sky, Koko. What a coincidence. May be he will get wind of Poets United and throw his weight behind it (and blessings too). Thank you for your observation.

Promising Poets Parking Lot said...

magical word painting.
well done.

join us if you did not do so yet.

Salem Lorot said...

@ Promising Poets Parking Lot, thank you so much. I will and excited about it. :)

madhumakhi said...

You give an old man some tobacco and he gives you a blessing. What a beautiful exchange!

Anonymous said...

The old man danced not for the tobacco, but for the hope that you gave him - the assurance that traditions of kindness and generosity live in the generations who follow him, and his blessing was for you and for the continuance of that hope. One day when you are an old man, a son of the earth will stop and smile, and offer you his small gift; you will know it is much greater than small and lasts for generations. You too, will bless him and all the youth to follow. I loved this poem - it was so beautiful and happy

Salem Lorot said...

@ Madhumakhi, first you are most welcome to Lorot's Poetry. I agree, it is one of the most refreshing sights to behold!

@ Brokenpenwriter, what an analysis! Wait. Thank you first for stopping by here. Now, you nailed the thought process of the old man--fair and square! You are exuding wisdom Brokenpenwriter.

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