Winter 1950 • Vol. XII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1950 |

The Old Man Is Dying

"I'm going to follow trees." His beard Blew like steam as he turned the corner Of the house. Spiders were swaying in on threads Across the clipped lawn. His nightgown Flapped at his red knees.     "Well now and well now, my friends." He laughed, Wetting his burning lip. At every step, His arms flew out from his sides. O the old man Stirred his bundle of bones And crossed the road.     "My story is anger!" But no longer. Weeds Stand up between his toes. As he wavers, Crows circle his head. He sits, his gown Sifts into the grass: the globe Of sense begins to close.       How all falls away, the breakfast thinner On the tray; how speech withdraws To the speaking mouth, to end there. The loud voice failed at last, The rant against       Silver, the ward boss, or the frozen pump, That only sighed: or now, the damp Hands of nurses; the hoarse doctor who pinched Him and laughed; and the dissolving World of fever.     "King's X! King's X!"

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