A letter to a gentleman I used to know

20131206-090206.jpg[photo credit: writeforward]

I know it’s late in the writing,
I know you are most likely dead,
but what my rational mind acknowledges,
my tender heart rejects.

Did you know you were a gentleman?
that’s how you appeared in my eyes,
for you always treated me with respect,
so I trusted, with no need for whys.

I remember the honesty of our first meeting:
schizophrenic with co-morbidity;
heroin and alcohol devastation,
but you’d learnt to accept life’s insanity.

You sang of falling over four leaf clovers,
as you strummed on your guitar,
it seemed a hapless insight that
luck could trip you from afar.

Bedroom smaller than your Walton jail cell,
with a mattress on the floor,
at your filthy lodging
I tried to be the smile at your door.

“Don’t ever visit me again”
read out of context seems rather harsh,
but your words were the kindest
(for years protection had been sparse).

Your landlord beat his workers
and kept your benefit book,
now he wanted you to pimp me
at fifty pounds a punter’s look.

I needed no second warning
and never called again,
but saw you on the streets,
often busking down some lane.

In tears one time I found you,
with only pet food peanuts to your name,
I carried them back to your new squat,
and saw your life reduced to pain.

The bedroom was a floorless floor,
the boards all crumbling away,
symmetry of your body that
hepatitis was destroying day by day.

The last time I saw you –
all ragdolled against a wall,
I had no time to stop, and
didn’t know this was all.

You never appeared again,
although I looked so many times,
perhaps you fulfilled your dreams of Ireland,
which you spoke of many times.

And there I go denying that
you had met with your death,
so hard for me to think of
you having drawn your last breath.

May you rest in those lucky clovers,
a paradise of green,
where mind is settled and content,
and you finally rest serene.


28 thoughts on “A letter to a gentleman I used to know

  1. wow…the meetings over and over again and seeing his decline…its quite moving…and the gentleness of him to you…and wanting for you to steer clear of the life in which he found himself…quite the story rowan…i hope he got that dream of ireland…

  2. Rowan, I can see that this man impacted your life. I am sure he never knew that he would be remembered and thought about for a long time. Though he may be gone ‘to Ireland,’ he will live on in your heart and in this poem!

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