Ageing populations worldwide have produced more than a handful of social and economic issues. Will state pension funds run out? Will you die alone and isolated? Old people and loneliness are synonymous for many. This is a poem about loneliness.
Spare a Thought for Old Mrs Millar
Balmy nights make for soft conversations The sun revealing love and loss. But that’s of little use when standing in wait for an overcrowded, stinking bus home. Soft words and glances sit old Mrs Millar down on the hard bench. Warmth gives way to heat, thirst, a dry mouth. She says nothing. Words won’t escape an arid throat and barren tongue. Passing time and hot air begin to melt old Mrs Millar’s legs and bones away. Her frail frame sags onto the pavement without a whisper. Bystanders stand idly by. The bus pulls up, drawing an unruly crowd into a stampede. If it hadn’t been for the little dog, she’d have died and vanished into the pavement. Time would have tarred and swallowed her creaking body. Not so, said the little dog, jumping wildly, licking her face as if it was the sweetest bone. Alas, someone spares a moment to call emergency services before sardining onto the bus along with everyone else. Except for the woman with the little dog that wouldn’t leave old Mrs Millar’s side. Have you no one, the woman enquired later, when Mrs Millar was lying in hospital. No, you see, all my friends are dead, and I never married. So, how are you going to cope when you get out of here? Oh, old Mrs Millar replied, I’m gonna get myself a little dog like yours.