An Old Man

I am attempting to write a poem about Billy Quarles, my grandson’s other grandparent. My poetic juices are stirred unannounced by some off-hand remark or a dream or just an inspirational event. I don’t purposely set out to compose a poem. My grandson, Ben Quarles, made a comment about Billy that set this in motion, He stated that Billy rides his scooter down to the marina every day, purchases a cup of coffee and walks out to his sail boat. He is too old to sail by himself but bought the boat anyway. My grandson stated that he just sits there and watches the sunrise and or the sunset almost every day weather permitting. The picture that I created of him in my imagination is that which I hope to put into words.

The last two lines are about a framed photo taken by my daughter of her husband Bob, Billy’s son, and his dog, Boo, wading in Port St. Joe Bay, both of whom are now deceased.


A weariness ambles down the pier towards the bay

Treading upon boards white and calloused by the salty spray

Past old pilings like briny sentinels, staunchly arrayed

He shambles along unfettered, unencumbered and unafraid

A loneliness hears the raucous complaining of gulls

Hears the soft monotonous thumping of boat hulls

Like him, they are hollow and empty in their berths

He misses those who once shared his hearth

A tiredness sees terns held aloft as if by puppet strings

Notices the roiling white clouds, a storm threatening

Sees lofty masts strung with lanyards belayed

He sees tattered pennants and flags breezily displayed

A remembrance recalls youthful vigor now gone

It recalls his wife and confidant who left him alone

It misses all those that have left him too soon

He feels tired and hungers for a promised boon

“Come unto me all ye that labor and I will give you rest”

His journey is ended, the race won, he survived the test!

He waits for that scheduled appointment day

To unloose his moorings and set sail across the bay

It is there at the bar, that he must pass

As all who must who doth breathe their last

That barrier between this life and eternity

To face an eternal sea, a timeless infinity

A sadness boards an old sail boat at its quay

Seats Himself at its stern and holds the rudder's sway

Coffee in hand he stares prayerfully in gratitude

And gratefully sips from his cup of solitude

I too stare at a sunset, a man and a dog

Wading; silhouetted against a mirrored sky

And old men shall dream dreams

Truely! Nothing is as it really seems