Sunday, October 12, 2014

Humble Pie

Humble Pie

The gurney was narrow as a park bench;
It rattled and shook with bumps on his drive.
One nasty pothole gave his back a wrench,
But served to remind him he was alive.

His eyes were dazzled by ambulance lights,
As EMT's lifted him in the back
Of a van, full of beeping, blinking sights;
Counterpoints to the night’s velvety black.

An hour before, he was watching TV,
Silently slouched on this favorite couch.
Mouth full of popcorn, a glass on his knee,
He sprawled and he growled, the consummate grouch.

He cursed all the challenges of his life,
He blamed his whole family, one and all.
He even cursed his long-suffering wife --
A curmudgeon with a clarion call.

Family members ignored him, of course.
So tired of years of verbal abuse,
Delivered full volume, without remorse,
They despaired of ever reaching a truce.

Tonight was definitely different,
A change in the weather brought them around.
The storm in the living room went silent,
Except for whimpers and a choking sound.

His popcorn was scattered everywhere,
He was on the floor and was turning blue.
They entered the room, and they just stood there,
And watched, like they didn’t know what to do.

The youngest finally dialed 9-1-1,
Though he hesitated uncertainly.
As the others’ composure came undone,
They all began calling, frantically.

Time seemed to stop in a flash of green light,
A shadow lifted him off of the floor,
And his dying eyes saw the strangest sight,
A man dressed like no one he’d seen before.

The song the man sang seemed to clear his throat,
And air rushed in, once again he could breathe!
But he was an ornery, vile, old goat,
His temper returned, he began to seethe...

As the Minstrel’s song held his bile in check,
He saw himself through his family’s eyes;
He saw his fury make their lives a wreck,
A monster that they could only despise.

His two little children, his loving wife,
Long time targets of his tantrums and ire;
Had all hesitated to save his life,
So frightened of him, they’d let him expire.

They’d looked relieved as men took him away.
If he could have breathed better, he’d have cried,
As the anger he fed everyday,
Was lost to great sadness and quickly died.

The Minstrel, like always, had disappeared,
But his song long haunted the old man’s mind.
His family came back, though he had feared,
They’d leave him for someone loving and kind.

He learned to enjoy eating humble pie,
For the next time, they might just let him die!

Mick McKellar
October 2014

Take care to sweeten your words when you share them with your loved ones. Someday, you might have to eat them.


No comments: