The Man Bent Over

30 Nov 2022

Image: Supplied through the prison contemplative fellowship


By Jesse Mawson


“The Man Bent Over”  

“How are you going?” I ask 

A gasp. A pause. A slow breath in. 

lips lightly tremoring 

you can see the vulnerability in his eyes alone 

Tears have not come yet 

But you know they will arrive soon 

Hands clasped or veiling his face 

Prostrated and bent. 

As if a light thread is holding him up 

One last time before 

Slipping to the ground 

He begins to speak 

And his words unravel him 

Reaping the harvest finally 

Speech-less or speech-full 

Either way the steady stream approaches 

And he sits bent 

For he does not know his future 

And there is no light to show him the way. 



You feel that there is not much to be said 

Not much has been said 

A gasp again with a sigh of relief. 

Nothing has changed 

The doom might still ride forward 

Into the night 

Something has changed 

From somewhere 

Maybe peace, maybe resolve, maybe courage 

“Thank you” he says.


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