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Old man's pastime in than bauk

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Below is the poem entitled Old man's pastime in than bauk which was written by poet Charles Henderson. Please feel free to comment on this poem. However, please remember, PoetrySoup is a place of encouragement and growth.

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Old man's pastime in than bauk

old man counts coup
lots killed few missed
aims true then laughs

a long stretched band
the aged hand aims
flies land dead

This actually happened.  I was about ten years old, visiting my gramp’s home, in the North Carolina mountains just out of Canton.  My mom needed some relief while she was about to have my second brother.  Grand dad took us across the pasture to a neighbor’s home to listen to a champion ship boxing match on the radio.  I don’t remember who fought but I remember it being gosh awful hot and the windows were up to catch a breeze which never came.   On reflecting later I supposed it had something to do with giving the flies a way to get back out.  Not the first sign of a screen anywhere on the windows.  Anyway this old, old man about 200 or so years was in bed with some kind of nite shirt on.  He was sitting up, propped against some pillows and had a sling shot rubber.  He could stretch it out about three feet and then pop the flies off of his bed from about two, two and half feet away.  It was all he could do to stretch that band back and you can imagine his hands were wobbling and shaking from the strain.  When he popped a fly he would just laugh like crazy.  Somehow he managed to sync with all that wobbling and shaking and would usually get a fly.  On the way home we laughed about that till our sides split.  I have often thought about the old man and the way he had to spend his last days.  The way he laughed I guess he was happy enough in his situation.  And the way we laughed I hope was not a lack of deference to his situation, but the comedic fashion in which he was acting.  The longer I live, it seems the more respect I have for old people.  Wonder why that is?                         

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  1. Date: 11/18/2011 7:24:00 PM
    Charles, this is a fascinating story, well told in narrative and Than-Bauk, enjoyed it immensely, thanks for sharing, John.