The old man and the mule

Written by: Richard Moriarty

A faint outline appeared in the early morn 
a full moon still shed its light, dark shadows 
spread across the land casting an eerie 
shadow over the far distant hills. 
An old buckboard clattered along a dusty 
road bumping roughly over pot holes 
washed out by an early winter rain. 

The old mule plodded along - ribs 
showing from a life of hard work prolonged, 
a rather tired animal trudging slowly along 
tugging at its heavy load. 

The old man sat humped over on the seat, 
nodding as though he was asleep. 
A low hanging branch served to awaken him as 
it slapped sharply against the side of his head 
causing him to sit up straight, grabbing his hat 
that was about to be shed. 

A road traveled more than once, 
from the old farm down to the general store, 
bumping along on rutted roads, filled with 
holes, not a friendly ride it was, but 
one that both the rider and mule 
had made many times. 

On either side of the road rows of tall trees standing straight 
with leaves long since gone, the trunks 
appearing as gaunt ribs rising up from the ground 
much as the old mule appeared, 
as it pulled its heavy load quietly by. 

The day was cold, a north wind blew, chilling 
both with icy fingers that cut to the bone; 
but the old man and the mule just plodded along, 
going silently down that dusty road bumping 
over the ruts and pot holes worn by time and use itself; 
two old friends working and waiting, serving out time 
as they repeated their daily chores. 

Time and work takes its toll, 
as man and beast move along 
worn and traveled roads 
doing never ending chores of old 
until the end of a road is finally reached.