Looking at Fields. A poem by David Robson

The old man from down the road
Is a sad old man
He stands in the middle of the road
Straight in front of any car
Blaring its horn as he with deaf ears
Simply looked at the field

Cruel children mock his hunched stance
They could not remember him as anything else
But the old man not quite there in the head.
Though he is still there
He can still hear them and see them
He can feel and smell the world as it is and as it was

Smelling the roses and hearing the birds
Singing lightly into the air
And seeing the spreading of the dandelion’s seeds
As he passed the fields
That reminded him of his long passed
Though well spent youth.

He thought as he dragged his feet
Of the days when he could jump those fields
When it was no harm that thorns cut his legs
Or when rolling in the grass was safe
And when could get back up again
On his own terms

Long ago it was that he got his first communion
Wafer sending the body of Christ to his heart
The first of many
Those gnarled hands grasping a walking stick
Used to vibrantly grasp a Hurley
And even won championships back in the day

After looking in the fields of Youth
He would go to Carey’s
For his Middle of the day pint
Then leave and return for his end of day pint
And a whiskey to accompany
But no more than that

For days gone by were better filled
With song, dance and drink
With lovely ladies he could charm.
Hard to believe he was the same man
At whom cars roared and children mocked
As could command adoration in a room

It was a long time since he was young
Though for him it was always Yesterday
Yesterday when he could walk with his back straight
As it had been his first day of matrimonial bliss
A good-looking young man
With beautiful bride at his side

Though all that was behind him
No more rolling down hills of green
Or downing hard the pints of black
Now just shuffling and walking
Waiting for the roses to whither
As his rose had long ago

Her Rosey hair that brightened each morning
No longer reddened his sight
Only a faded picture
Where red hair is black
And freckled skin is a ghostly white
He touches the frame as he would touch her face

Much had happened to the old man
He survived so much
He saw wars, poverty, death, tragedy
He buried so many of those dear to him
He buried his parents with their parents
Knowing he will join before too long

He thinks of children and grandchildren
Far away from him
The odd phone call all he lives for
His pictures on his mantle and in his head
Of the family he had
But no longer sees

His is a lonely solitary life
Standing on the road beeped at by cars
And being mocked by children
His only human contact
Though he does live. He lives in his past
He lives by looking at fields


My name is David Robson. I’m from Tipperary originally and was raised in Mallow. I am a tour guide in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. I have always been interested in creative writing but have only started writing poetry since the Pandemic began. Anna Jordan put some of my poetry up on her ModHearts Poetry Posts Facebook page and she submitted some of my poems for Poetry Day Waterford on their Facebook page.

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