the elderly couple waddled

slowly up the sidewalk

I could see they could just

barely get to the front door

as we all were headed for

the doctor’s office entrance


I slipped ahead of them

to hold the door open

they smiled warmly as

they assumed their places

in the check-in line

ahead of me


what can come from

situations like this

do we self-congratulate

for a notably selfless act

or do we learn something


do we find that the human

condition is common and

that we all share in it

can we appreciate the

struggles of total strangers


I’ve found that, as I age,

I see something totally

and absolutely different

when I see the elderly –

I see me in X-number of years

if I’m lucky enough to

live to see that age

and maybe someone younger

and much more able

will do the same for me


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About John White

I've written off and on my entire life. It took years for me to finally take putting words together seriously. Now it's not, nor does it ever feel, like work. Writing daily has become habitual. No day is complete without words having appeared on the page.

Posted on April 16, 2015, in Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. Loved this. Well know that thought process. πŸ™‚

  2. Lovely but I think we all know the little bastards will push us over to get ahead in the queue.

  3. A very thoughtful poem. I can honestly say that where I live, I can count on people to have good manners and act thoughtfully because for the most part it’s that way now.

  4. This was lovely. I really enjoy your writing style. Your voice pairs wonderfully with your stories. I think we can all relate in some way to what you have to say, which is what I think makes your writing so special.

  5. moylomenterprises

    We can only hope that our random acts of kindness inspire others to do the same, which eventually comes back to us. Have you ever seen the movie Pay it Forward? It’s based on that concept – – very lovely story.

    • The thought of paying it forward crosses my mind often but it would be interesting to watch when no one thinks we’re looking to see if they do something kind for someone else.

  6. Good one.A new poem The Mystery Of Death is waiting for you .I hope you will like it… Please do visit my blog too as i am a beginner blogger and hope every love and support from you.I hope you will like it.Thank you

  7. The beautiful respect of knowing that we’ll one day wear those same shoes. Inspiring write❀

  8. Sensitive writing. Love it!

  9. The harshness of reality is much more different when we age .I am seeing more and more of harshness with my age,I believe you have to be patient with yourself in order for you to be patient with them,that’s the holding of the of the door
    As always Sheldon

  10. Thought provoking read… Loved it so much while going through it… πŸ™‚

  11. If more people got that, imagine what the world could be like…In my mid fifties now, the gray is something you not only become accustomed to, you actually begin to take some pride in it.

  12. John, Thanks so much for your honesty in sharing this piece. Aging occupies such an odd place in our culture. And, I think mostly we’re all afraid of dying of course. Or perhaps, worse, of the growing old itself. I observe the changes in my own skin and see it all happening. I think it helps to recollect, that all things are subject to being born, aging, sickness and finally (if as you say, we are lucky) death in old age. Keep writing. May all find peace, Hillary

    • Thank you, Hillary! Aging can be a painful process and enough to make us wonder if we can go any farther but there is also much to be gained in a long life. It’s great to meet you!

  13. Love this, a beautiful hope for a better world expressed through your words.

  14. This is something that everyone expects, but unfortunately, none comes forward to be that kind of a person. Nonetheless, you have crafted the reality so aptly and beautifully.
    I am following you from now. πŸ™‚

  15. It’s fascinating that different age groups have different perspectives. I particularly like the elderly. Humility perhaps?

    • We likely change by generation because of the times in which we grow up. My childhood would be vastly different than that of someone growing up now because of the times and the technology. We can learn more and do it more easily now but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we appreciate everyone around us. Though I do think those born after my generation are more open-minded in some ways. And you’re right, we should have respect for the elderly.

      • I was thinking more in terms of how each age group has a different perspective related to their age. There is a baby perspective, child perspective, teenage perspective, young adult perspective and so on up. There also seem to be breaks in our development. We remember virtually nothing about our babyhood and toddlerhood. There also seems to be a general loss of memory in adults about childhood – so that parents are shocked by the experience of babies/toddlers and children, as if they hadn’t been children themselves.
        You are right. There has been a massive cultural jump between the older generation who grew up with only radios, black and white tv and phones in call boxes, not in the home – and before computers. The young who grow up with all our technology from the cradle are like aliens to me. They all seem like techno geniuses and I can’t begin to imagine how their minds work.
        I like the old not out of pity. I pity the young. But because they are interesting. They contain a lifetime of experiences which they are happy to talk about with encouragement. And they are less disposed to various levels of irrelevant emotional tantrums which characterise younger generations to a greater or lesser extent.

  16. You write so well. :’)
    Just an innocent thought though….
    So in the end all we do is for selfish motives isn’t it? Do something in hope to get the favour returned in the future? Am I just being cynical? I’m sorry. πŸ˜›

    • Thanks. No that’s not cynical at all. Some things we do are motivated by selfishness but it’s when we do things simply because it’s the right thing to do – that’s when we learn. It’s great to meet you!

  17. This poem is very thoughtful! I wish all were that wise.

  18. When we are willing to give at all, whether it is money, services, or greatest of all, love, we always receive back in some way. Only if it’s done from the heart and not in expectation of something in return.

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