The Old Man’s Tale
The old man lifted the glass of champagne in his hand
Carrying with it the honour of being the Best Man,
“To the lovely couple, I would like to raise a toast
And tell you a story that I find most
Entertaining, but it has nothing to do
With our beloved bride or groom.
Once upon a time, as many times before,
I walked out into a forest that began at my door.
For a troubled mind, it was a beautiful sight,
And my aching feet carried me into the white.
The forest would wrap me up in her trees,
Providing a virgin land of undisturbed peace.
But when the clear day became a smoky screen,
I missed, for once, the colours of red and green.
Of all the things I could have done,
I abandoned classical notions of “fun”
And chose the path that many dread;
The path that only the vagabonds tread.
The trail was dark, but uncannily pleasant;
Calming, yet chaotic like a raging adolescent.
The moon offered only attention, not love;
She was a lone friend loaned from above.
I admitted I was lost, as my watch struck eleven
It was too cold for hell, but it sure wasn’t heaven.
The wind carried the call of an unknown beast,
Waiting in the bushes for his Christmas feast.
Finding myself on the ground, I tried to remember why
And before I could look up, something dropped from the sky.
Shivering hard, I closed my eyes shut
I had come for some peace; this was anything but.
Even so, I could tell it swung around
Waiting, as a forgotten victim, to be found
‘That was a man’, my brain tried to reaffirm.
‘Of course it was’. But my eyes wouldn’t confirm.
In spite of the crippling fear and fatigue,
The man’s identity was a cause of intrigue
Maybe he was someone I had met.
Maybe he just couldn’t outrun his debt.
Or a man of great wisdom and might
Brought to the ground on his greatest flight
Unable to share life’s sense of humour
And gone at the dawn of the most vile rumour.
Or maybe just a man tired of his woeful existence
Who declined to offer any further resistance.
Or maybe he just took a fateful drink,
Lost his sacred ability to think,
Thought a rope around his neck suited him best
And allowed gravity to do the rest.
You’d expect me to say i had learnt something by now
About life, its deep meaning and how
It was stupid of me to have stayed on the ground.
But no, i waited till the sun came around.
I opened my eyes as if to look up was a sin
And there he hung, the wax mannequin.”
– Abhinau Kumar V