Haibun Monday #12 – Beauty in decay – Old Man


Old man squints into the mirror. Failing eyes don’t help his overall view of himself. He sees the receding hairline, remembers the summers of his youth when his hair was his shining glory. The times he and his love drove to the mountains, made love beside the waterfall, frolicked in the deep cool waters below the gushing stream plunging down upon them. His once smooth face is now rubbery and gristled etched with the stories of his past. He passes a hand across his brow sees his life in slow decline, loves lost, alone and a life wrapped in memory. His twilight is approaching he knows but inside he wishes for one last chance, an opportunity to love again. He splashes on his aftershave remembering his daughter’s words: “Dad you need all the help you can get.”

He smiles hitching his pants, “There’s life left in you yet,” he thinks as outside the autumn winds herald the coming winter. One last look and his mind thinks of the springtime warmth stirring within him.


visible age lines

winter chill or spring time warm

twilight approaches



Written for: https://dversepoets.com/2016/04/25/haibun-monday-12-beauty-in-decay/

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36 Responses to Haibun Monday #12 – Beauty in decay – Old Man

  1. Waltermarks says:

    Us old-timers need all the help we can find. It reminds me of an old family friend, 94 years old still trying to make it. Good job

  2. lillian says:

    I can just see him hitching his pants. This reminds me of my Uncle Jim — we visited him in a trailer park when he was approaching 85. He’d outlived two wives, had suspenders on to keep up his pants as he wasn’t eating very well. But he talked about how all the ladies at the park are after him when he goes to the dances — but he just wanted to dance. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing another wife — but he still was hungry for fun 🙂 Thanks for rekindling my fond memories here. 🙂

  3. whimsygizmo says:

    I like all the metaphor you’ve used here, with the seasons. Well done.

  4. I loved this old man and how he keeps on defying “them.” That hitching pants detail is so good…so often encountered in my work with the elderly.

  5. Patti says:

    Good one. I especially like “etched with the stories of his past.” This man reminds me of a fellow who lived in the independent living home my step-mother was in at the end of her life. This guy was a dapper old dude. Every night he dressed up for dinner. In the dining hall, all the ladies, including the young servers, fawned over him. He died a happy man.

  6. Bodhirose says:

    I have that same desire that the old man does, to fall in love again. I’m not quite at the hitching up my pants stage but I loved that image of him and of him splashing on some aftershave. Good for him…I think he’ll get his wish. I’m rooting for him!

  7. Olga says:

    Beautiful haibun, Michael. We will all come to that point in life where twilight approaches and one last dance is a forever wish.

  8. It’s never too late, Michael. As long as there is life in our bodies, it’s never too late.
    I absoutely love this. Wonderful work. 🙂

  9. mtw says:

    oh, i love the character in your haibun! his optimistic attitude is so heartening, even as the haiku ends “twilight approaches.” we have all the time we need until everything is done.

  10. kim881 says:

    ‘He passes a hand across his brow sees his life in slow decline, loves lost, alone and a life wrapped in memory. His twilight is approaching he knows but inside he wishes for one last chance, an opportunity to love again’: I read this and wanted to reach out and hold his hand, maybe plant a kiss on his cheek..

  11. I really really like the whole scene… a man I’m closer to than the youth I once was.. and especially hitching his pants touched me… wonderful Haibun and thanks so much for joining

  12. Brought a huge, warm, giggly smile to my face. Really well told!

  13. Scout says:

    Hope I’m not stepping out of bounds here, Michael, but this wonderful piece brings to mind what I’ve come to realize, as an “older folk”–it’s not what’s in the pants, but rather what’s in the head, that counts. In that case, how can any age be a factor when it comes to love?

  14. This was so uplifting and a tribute to those who truly live their lives despite their age. I was drawn to this line of your haiku….”winter chill or spring time warm”
    It really does become a matter of choice. Age is irrelevant if we want it to be.

  15. This longed for love is a piece of the puzzle that everyone always deserves another chance at…and your poem illustrates a beautiful being with love and life stirring in his bones. I loved your poem.

  16. Michael, this is wonderful!

Please feel free to comment, I appreciate your thoughts.

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