The Old Man of the Ringroad by Carolyn Ward


Once a bearded man
A man,
Not a troll, tramp or vagrant
Lived between two ringing roads
A small push of green erupting to split tarmac
To soil
To spoil the evenly levelled roads
But he was a man, and there was
Nowhere else for him to be
No home
No family to hold him close
No birthday, no Christmas
No name
So he lived there, on the small green patch
Burning in the summer heat
When the tarmac rippled and the haze smothered
Made him cough
But the flowers stitched the grass with patterns
For him to follow the season
Freezing in the snows
Ice dripping into his old tent
But the winter geese flew in arrowheads 
For him to follow the winds
A thousand people drove past him everyday 
Up and down the ringing roads
Twice a day, reporting to a warm office
But they didn’t see him
One day he let go 
Followed the geese away
The cold sky calling him home
Some of the thousand people
Noticed when he was gone


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