The Prisoner’s Tale



“I don’t know about you, but getting old sucks.

I’d give up all retirement to be 30 again.”


So says a friend to me as we sit on his porch puffing cigars.


I guess I’ve accepted getting older better than he,

it hasn’t gone to my head yet.

I’ve not looked at it the same way as he,

it’s all gone to the body.


The body is breaking down.

I can’t do the physical things I used to

without the aches that follow.


I knew I was aging when about ten years ago

the pretty misses began calling me sir,

A tell-tale sign.


I’ve never been one to gawk at myself in the mirror

the way I did as a teen;

but when I do look into the mirror now,

I don’t recognize the face looking back.


I pull out my old high school yearbook,

compare myself now to then –



Who is this guy?

Is that me?


I feel disassociated with the reflected image.

I had another out-of-body experience just the other day,

I saw my wife sitting in a booth,

she look small and frail.

I’d never seen her that way before,

and the experience held me steadfast for a minute.


A change had occurred.

Another change is coming.


The worm has turned.

I am now gone,

just hanging on in another universe.

Its fortunate I speak the same language.


I’m slowly leaving the culture.

I don’t know who the current celebrities are,

the musical groups or singers of songs.

I don’t even know which songs are good and which bad.

I no longer fit.


When I was young,

I felt the world was mine.

I was the actor, to act upon the world.

It was my stage.


It’s amazing how life changes.

It’s amazing to think that now I need to be preparing myself

for death.


It’s a fact.

There’s no shying away from it.

We all must face it.


Sometimes I’m oblivious to it.

Sometimes I carry on, the same old me.

Sometimes I have to stop and realize,

it’s not the same old me.


Who am I?

Who is this me, thinking.

Who is this body?

Perhaps this is what Socrates meant

when he said we’re all prisoners in our bodies,

whether that body be beautified,

ugly, fit, or disabled.


Maybe wisdom comes with this realization.

So much depends upon perspective.





(revised 6 Dec 2011)

Copyright © 2011 Marvin Loyd Welborn. All Rights Reserved.


  1. hello Tink , nice to meet you! i am enjoying you and your poetry all the way from here, happy to get old with you any day…a rare one indeed



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