Middle-Aged Men, Leaning

by Bruce Taylor

four movements

They lean on rakes.
It's late, it is evening
already inside their houses.

The children are gone.
Their wives are on the phone
talking softly to someone else.

This frost, this early Fall
upon their minds, a small
measure of patience and regard

as if the twilight world
in bright papery pieces
diminished so and thus.

They lean on hoes
in Spring the green earth
turned once more beneath them

their eyes full of flowers
their hands full too
of the planting still to do

the weeds and drought awaiting
their pocketful of seed
the water they must carry.

In an early winter dark they lean
on shovels, a graying heart
a last bad rap inside them,

looking upward toward the sky
the yard, the driveway, the car
the street, the world

itself for all they know
buried by the falling snow
even as they gasp to breathe

and re-breathe the visible breath,
like a burst cartoon balloon
of an old imperfect prayer.

In summer, after long mowing,
they lean toward a growing
silence in the plush grasses

in leaves of many greens
in trees of their own colors
where grackle and crow

each to its own shadow
in the dusky reach of branches
gather quietly to stay.


  1. This is beautiful. I experience this daily. Where I live I am surrounded by people in this stage of life and this poem is so accurate.

  2. This is quite beautiful. Thank you.

  3. There are men who do more than lean on the recliner? Where are they?

  4. Very beautiful. Rudee, I love that insight.

  5. Quite an amazing poem, full of imagery. Question, though, what is middle age these days?

    My husband (45) is younger than I and he mowed our substantial yard the last two weekends after not having to do so for two spring-summers. I hired a service in 2008 after doing the job myself all 2007. I actually think he enjoyed it.

    Again, what is middle age for these guys?

  6. Oh dear, ya made me cry with this one.

    And I always thought what Seinfeld said about what men thought about was true: nothing.

    Well, maybe it is, but now I'll see it as a poetic nothingness...buddhism-light, sort of.

  7. Right-o, Kathleen, and the recliner is a zen space for them also:>)


Post a Comment

Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)

Popular posts from this blog

Saturday in CinCity. The CollegeGrrrl Guest Writer Edition.

Sunday in CinCity. The "Three Things I Know About Life...It Goes On" Edition

A Year with EB White