What a character he is” people would say,
As he regaled them with off-color jokes;
He was the star of the town’s nursing home,
Surrounded by elderly blokes.
He did tricks with cards and kept them amused,
With silly remarks about staff,
Never intending to cause any harm,
He just wanted to hear them all laugh.
The riddles and jokes were often the same,
Repeated with gusto each day,
But to elderly folk with memories lost,
It all sounded funny and gay.
Little old ladies with tightly curled hair,
Nervously watched from afar,
Sitting In wheelchairs, hoping they’d see,
And come over to ask how they are.
“What a character he is!” the nurses would say,
For his presence kept patients enthralled,
And the staff could count on his wry commentary,
Whenever the lunches were stalled.
Who needed to eat, when he was around?
Had he been a comic or actor in life?
And was he all alone in this world?
No children? No siblings? No wife?
For nobody came to see the old gent,
On Sundays when visitors flocked
To see the frail folks on Ward twenty-three,
Where all the doors were kept locked.
When relatives came bearing candy and fruit,
The character sat all alone,
In a corner he sat, quiet and still,
And waited until they went home.
Sandra Lee Smith
January, 2009/updated May 31, 2018