I could practically smell the cigarettes
Though the windows were rolled up
In the aging tan-colored Oldsmobile
It is the first thing I noticed, strangely
A sun-shriveled old face
Peered above the steering wheel
Crowned by a large straw hat
We were united he and I
Two travelers, strangers
Our only common ground the numbing freeway
I began to wonder about his life
And wonder if he wondered about mine
I imagined him an artist
A widower, missing his children
Who again forgot to send a card
I could see him on the old dock
On the summer lake at dusk
Sitting cross-legged, casting his line
Thinking of the malignancy
That took them all from him
That steady current in his own veins
I craved to know his stories
A little girl version of Manolin
And suddenly he was The Old Man and the Sea
As I made my exit
My eyes lingered on the aged auto, aged hat, aged man
Continuing together to amble the road
I silently wished him farewell
And for his final battle, one
Not so bitter-sweet as Santiago’s
Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner
Added to The Poetry Pantry
Added to The Poetry Pantry
So many great details in this piece. I feel like I'm driving along that road too.
poesie- thank you very much for your comments. The comment you left on “Spring Canzonet” went to my email but didn’t show up on my blog post, not sure why, but I appreciate your complimentary words. I agree it is nice to meet fellow writers! I am reading your blog and enjoy your talent.
This is such a wonderful poem - it creates such strong visual images! One of my favorites :)
I'm pleased you like it--thank you very much for commenting!
Oh this is very evocative. I, too, can see him, wonder about him....lovely thoughts to be having of a fellow traveler......you have a good heart!
I like the smell of cigarettes being the first thing you describe and the whole concept of the poem, chance meetings, imagined backgrounds, predicted futures. Wonderful! Thanks.
Kind of you to say, Sherry, thank you very much. I so appreciate your thoughts on this piece.
Norman, thank you! I think I did smell those cigarettes! I'm glad you connected with the "idea" behind this. Thank you for commenting.
Very gentle and compassionate write, with soft words to match the mood.
A wonderful portrait of an old man quietly intent and content! His journey is all he is! Somehow the traveller with him seems like an unwitting intruder, only able to watch and ask silent questions! Beautiful!
I entered your poem immediately smelling that cigarette smoke, and that stayed with me during the entire poem. What an imagination..to think about this man and all the stories he COULD have within him! The old man came alive within your poem before he went off into the horizon.
I like your imaginative spin on his life ...I sometimes have these thoughts while driving on the road and seeing those old cars ~ Lovely share ~
I really like this, and how you spun such a rich story from a brief encounter. I find that I often do the same, imagining the story of someone's life when I catch a glimpse of them doing something rather ordinary. Wonderful read :)
loved the reference to Hemingway and the vivid details of your speaker's imaginings.
The smell of the cigarette smoke drew me in and you kept me immersed in the story with your vivid images... I enjoyed your imagined musings of his life and how it reminds me that every person has a story worth telling. Lovely poem, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Loved this piece--I loved how I felt when I read it, I loved its story and its flow--such a wonderfully vivid and evocative write!
You made this brief encounter ever so personal for the reader. The little details made it come to life. Nice job.
Such sweet musings...I wish that man could know how tenderly you thought of him, as it sounds like he might feel unnoticed in his life. I so enjoyed this poem, especially your closing wish for him. Just lovely.
Strange how some people touch us, so briefly and yet, leave a lasting footprint in our mind. He was obviously a man with mystery that caused you to wonder and wish to know his history. Beautiful thoughts and imagery which have all created a very lovely poem.
I was immediately drawn into your poem, it was me seeing him and wondering and wishing. Well done.
Nostalgic. Clear images here and you penned it so well.
I often look at people driving and wonder about their stories. I love the way you did this. I can see his eyes peering over the steering wheel from under his big hat.
Thanks aprille, and I'm glad the mood came across in the piece.
Glad you enjoyed it Gemma--thanks much!
Thanks Mary! What "could" be is one of the things I love about some types of poetry. It is fun to entertain your muse!
A lovely characterful poem. I liked the line "who again forgot to send a card" in the context you put it. So true and sad.
Thanks Heaven, it is entertaining to imagine what the stories within may be.
Thanks Photo! You just never know what the stories are, but you know there are some...thanks for sharing!
I love Hemingway, and The Old Man and the Sea is one of my favorites of his. Thanks for commenting Abin!
Love how you connected with the key idea I began with when I started this write: "every person has a story worth telling." So glad you enjoyed it Serena--and thanks for coming by!
Thanks Audrey--I so appreciate your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the feel and flow of it--means a lot that you did.
Thank you K :)
Thanks for commenting again Sherry. Loved what you wrote when I first published this piece and love what you have written here too. He definitely wasn't unnoticed by me, a lovely thought to be able to let him know.
Yes...he was a fascinating character to me. Who knows what his real story is, but he piqued my interest. Thank you very much!
Thanks Willow--glad it had that effect for you. Thanks for commenting!
Appreciate your compliment Dennis :)
You just never know what their actual stories are, but it is entertaining to imagine. Thanks so much--glad you like it!
Thanks very much!
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