The lungs and the larynx
so weakened by the delivery
that at ten years old
I was the kid
seated in the back corner
of the classroom
sounding off in triplets,
a wheezing cough
you might mistake
disrupting the class
till I’d be sent on silly errands
so the other kids could try to focus
on their lessons.
Often it was to give the janitor
a message, Mr. Mercury,
a retiree that carved walking sticks
out of maple saplings, the root balls
providing provocative crowns
to each of his staffs.
He’d let me handle his pocket knife
and work along some roughness
he had yet to attend to.
Till this day, he defines for me
kindness and care,
and has continued as my guide
for what it means to be human.
17 thoughts on “The Croup”
Mr. Mercury was the best.
a lovely humane poem, straight into my commonplace book; love the character of the janitor —
Thank you John, an honor.
And he probably never knew he was a hero. He was just being himself. Shame is
Jim Mercury was truly a hero, and correct, he never would have thought that at all.
Shame he maybe never knew, but then probably he didn’t need to. There are lots of beautiful people around us in this wilderness where we live. However we are so busy we are blind to what is around us. A grand and important memory of this great person.3
Wow, Richard! I love this piece.
That means a great deal to me David, truly does.
It can be a simple act of kindness to influence your life for the long term. You can be your own worst critic with insecurities. And then? An art teacher is there to enthuse, inspire and put you in for your art exam a year earlier than normal where you pass with a Grade 1. It spurs you on, gives you comfort in realising confidence and puts your life’s journey in first gear. Again, a lovely flowing read from you. All the best.
So appreciate your engagement with my work.
Cheers. Actually. I’m writing a fair few lyrics and trying out some new tunes presently. Picking up my guitar a little more often. Nice after the decorating with the paint brush to change it for a half an hour or more on the dreadnought. Your own writing is pretty much inspiring me to try different styles. So I’m experimenting a bit with your amazing succinct descriptive style. Trying to put tunes to some of new words and ideas I’m writing down. So thank you. Mind you. Lyrics to songs have a different rhythm to attach to sung out tunes. So I’ll probably have to revert back to the old ‘writing a song’ format. Interesting though. All the best.
He sounds like a good bloke.
Salt of the earth he was Mick.