El Viejo

Oswaldo Guayasamin

The old man
sits in the shade
of an old umbrella
the colors faded by
the same sun which
has turned his skin
mahogany brown
carved creases
of hard work

He is too old
now for stooping
his joints all frozen
despite the July heat
He watches them work
son & son’s daughter
She brings a basket
of fresh spinach
just harvested

The old man
lays the greens
out on a little table
beside some onions
pure white walla wallas
the summer’s first lot
dirt still on the roots
and pint baskets
of raspberries

He tends the till
as cars pull over
to buy of what he has
fresh from the garden
a few dollars for the day
with which to purchase
rice beans & tortillas
the daily bread for
which they pray


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
This entry was posted in free verse, poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to El Viejo

  1. brings to mind my countless farm stand purchases during my travels – embarrassed by the memory that I can recall the fresh produce more easily than the farmers/vendors

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have painted a poignant picture with your words. It’s in the details. As an aside, my father-in-law is from Walla Walla, Washington (I LOVE those onions!) and I have learned that walla walla means “water, water” in the language of the tribe native to that area. But then, you are from WA too and probably already knew that. :) Wonderful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, LuAnne for the kind word about my poem. I have been spending the past 5 weeks driving a van picking up/driving home Latino children for a summer academy held at a local college which helps them ‘keep up’ on their language skills which too often relapse over summer vacation. It’s an eye opening experience for me . . .

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.