An old man on a park bench,

well-dressed in a brown, tweed suit,

was thinking about a lifetime ago

to a violin playing while Rome burned to soot.

He’s not much of a seer,

but I can tell you this:

“He opposes all believers

with a wicked and serpentine hiss.”

His lack of conviction and gratitude,

shows he’s not commonplace.

He maintains a well-informed aptitude

for intergalactic space.

Upping the ante on physics

is on his to-do list.

Over-wintering in Antarctica twelve times

is not something he would have missed.

His hobbies include lecturing

on cruise ships around the Black Sea,

or conveying the importance of

Ataturk to me.

Medieval Andalucía

is a conversation we once held.

Strictly for the challenge of it,

I took his course and never failed.

We’ve played the guitar at a gathering

and sang “In the Early Morning Rain.”

Knowing him was by no means easy,

but was certainly a gain.

After losing touch years ago,

I decided to make a call.

Straight to the point as usual,

it didn’t go as planned at all.

Baffled at all his rudeness,

I didn’t know just what to say.

I dropped the phone beside my hip

and gently began to play.

He quietly sat and listened

as I plucked those copper-bronze notes.

At the end of a dangling receiver,

I spoke the words I wrote:

“Here’s to you,

without further ado—

a fine-strummed tune

for Ichabod Leaver.”