A solitary old man sits on a bench,
His cane resting at his side,
His doleful eyes glance about the park,
But, restless, do not dwell for long.
Then he hears children playing with a beach ball,
And turns to see them standing in a circle.
The ball darts back and forth between them,
Kept from touching the ground – the challenge.
Their voices excited, laughing, shouting, urgent, gay –
Merriment of youth.
A tall girl hits the ball with a tight fist.
But it shoots straight up and gets snagged by branches —
The ball now suspended and out of reach.
Squeals of excitement and angst from the children
Proclaim their predicament.
A smile flickers across the old man’s face…
A twinkle in his eye.