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Poetry and Medicine
October 4, 2000

Old Men Are Dreamers

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2000;284(13):1625. doi:10.1001/jama.284.13.1625

Old men are dreamers, plotting escape all day.
Nights, they're surrounded, millions of stars
that fall. They rise in the dark and feel their way
to chairs. At dawn after coffee, the strong
take walks in malls, or slowly in parks
past wives and toddlers, past boys on bikes, and dogs.
Walking, they argue, cases they seldom lose.
Hackles up like hawks' if they stumble, they refuse
most strangers' hands that lift them anyhow.
A hawk alone knows nothing it couldn't do,
gliding, soaring between thunderclouds,
scrawling its dark, bold name against the blue.

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