oo i ow


Do you know where Hoy is?
Heard of the Old Man
(back to him in a minute)
But do you know where it is?
The Orkneys.
God's backyard.
A golden place for our silver wedding holiday.
Caught the ferry to Hoy,
Wanting to see the Old Man,
As you do.
No sign of the hand of man, 
old or young,
in the wild windswept centre,
just the road and the heather. 
And then some cheery, elderly ramblers. 
"We're the GOBs", they say,
"Geriatric Old Bastards."
They are fun. 
"Can you give me a lift to the harbour?" one says
"...got to get back to my husband."
"No problem, jump in."
We chat about that and this 
And hear hints about his health.
"Can't walk like he used to..."
And here he is,
on his feet but clearly struggling. 
A quick smile from this slow man
on seeing his wife.
Who says, "We used to go all over.
You'd never know it now,
but he's walked the Himalayas."
She chats on about his stroke, 
for which there is no magazine miracle cure. 
His brow furrows,
gathering himself to interrupt.
"oo i ow"
We look blank.
Fiercely. "oo i ow!"
"He's saying 'Do it now' "
she says with tenderness
and perhaps a little pride.
"If something's important to you,
Do it now.
One day it may be too late."
We talk, memorably,
but soon turn away.
I last see the old man leaning on her,
Limping away in his ravaged body.
Just an old man on Hoy,
But a man who loves passionately.
Loves this wild place,
loves his friends,
loves his wife, 
loves his life. 
I saw two old men of Hoy that day,
and know which I remember most. 

◄ Whispering

The Woman of Hoy ►


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Jane Bozian

Wed 17th Jan 2018 20:37

Oo i ow
This affected me so much, Dave, very emotional...

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Thu 8th May 2014 12:26

Your poetry never fails to strike hard, heart or head or even 'funnybone'. I like the conversational, story approach here, ambling on but always making progress to your point, no hurry, enjoy the journey. Plus, the best days with the highest values are never what you pre-plan. For me, the secret is receptivity.

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Jeff Dawson

Mon 5th May 2014 21:02

Nice one Dave, great images here too, glad you like 'Eternal Fury', just posted another 'Spirit of '45', hope you like it thanx Jeff

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Laura Taylor

Mon 14th Apr 2014 11:14

Lovely, Dave, and a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with, as you know.

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