_A Tattered Coat Upon A Stick_ or something

I dream of an anthology which would bring together the most striking descriptions of old men from poetry. It could be called A Tattered Coat Upon a Stick or something along similar lines. When I imagine the anthology in my hand, it's neither skinny nor thick, but middle-sized, neither too selective nor too exhaustive. This book would make a fantastic retirement gift for the discerning literary man.


The idea came from the following two shrivelled old fellows, who I met in fairly close succession. I'll pass them along here in case it's any use to my anthologist-hero.


“There: the shrivelled-up, wrinkled weight-lifter,

an old man who only drums now,

shrunk in his enormous skin, which looks as if it had once

contained two men, and the other

were already lying in the graveyard, while this one lived on

without him,

deaf and sometimes a little

confused, in the widowed skin.”


(pg 29-31, Rilke, Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus Trans. Stephen Mitchell)



“Grew old. And shrivelled. Asked the time of day.

And then forgot. Turned. Looked among the grass.

Tripped on a twig. Frightened some leaves away.


“But Only Mine” James Wright


Recent Posts

See All

Cited: Herbert, George. "Easter Wings." Pritchard, N.H. The Matrix. Poems 1960-1970. Here are two poems which might be good fun to set side-by-side before a bright group of students: "Easter Wings" b

A couple Christmases ago, a relative got me a FitBit Inspire™. Sometimes I wear it. I had my FitBit Inspire™ on while scrubbing the floor in my kitchen. My arm motion seems to have fooled the FitBit,

“Is there no way out?” Paz, Octavio. New Directions. Trans. Denise Levertov. Akerman, Chantal. Je, Tu, Il, Elle. “Rooms2020.” Originally choreographed 1955 by Anna Sokolow as “Rooms.”; re-imagined and