For an Old Man

I wish I had listened then. When you began
Those long old stories, I was bored and ran
Outdoors to play; or, older, tactfully drew
The talk away to light immediate things...
And all the while your generation lay
Behind your baffled eyes and wistful speech
Groping toward mine: and I can never reach
It now. The things you did not say
Are buried with you, and the bright thin line
Of contact broken. For I closed a door
And let you go away, your stories all untold:
I wish I had listened more.

s -- Floris Clark McLaren
from "The Dalhousie Review"

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