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GKSammy - Poems

AND THEN WHAT?
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And then What?
Perspective
bench2.jpg

Written three decades ago (in 1972),
this poem has become
my most-published piece.

The old man sat down on the bench.
His grey hair told his age.
The student who'd been there before
sniffed once, and turned a page.

The old man gently touched his sleeve
"excuse me, son" said he.
The student turned his head, surprised,
what could the trouble be?

"Why study so" the old man asked,
"will you tell this to me?"
The youth replied "so I may go
to University."

"And after you have studied there"
the old man asked, "then what?"
"Then I will find a well-paid job
with the degree I've got."

The old man sighed. "What after that?"
he asked with quivering voice.
"Then I will set up homestead with
the lady of my choice."

"And after this," the old man probed
"What will life hold - tell me!"
"W-why then," replied the shaken youth
"I'll raise a family."

"And when they've all grown up and gone
what will be left for you?"
"I shall grow old, my wife and I.
Yes, that is what we'll do."

"I know all this" the old man said,
"This was my tale as well;
but after you've grown old, my son,
What will you do, pray tell?"

"Why then I'll die," the student quipped
"when I'm three score and ten."
"And after that" the old man cried,
"and after death, WHAT THEN?"

bench.jpg

This poem appeared in an anthology for secondary school students, and was the subject of an article which appeared in the Jamaica Gleaner.  You can read that article by clicking here:  

Fiona Fennell's Jamaica Gleaner Article