“MAN YEARS” by Marcus Elman


Every man knows, he’s only as good as the fish throbbing in his net.
Only as good as God gives his hands clay.
Only good when good is spread-out, like a picnic on a spring day.
Every man is old in his good — failed or found.
As old as gold in lost hills,
ancient as unknown veins in scrabble mountains.
Every man wakes up to his dog and asks,
how many man years left boy?
And holds his heart, and cries.

Marcus Elman

Photo by Ralph Starkweather

© 2010

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17 comments

  1. lkthayer · March 12, 2010

    I love this Marcus, short, strong, powerful! “he’s only as good as the fish throbbing in his net” what a line! Bravo. Welcome to The Juice Bar! LK 🙂

  2. nicolerigets · March 12, 2010

    Phenomenal piece – The dialogue with the dog brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. Thank you Marcus!

  3. Gabriela · March 13, 2010

    Wonderful!! … “ancient as unknown veins in scrabble mountains…”
    Thanks for sharing…
    Lots of love from Ecuador.

  4. jimsnasium · March 13, 2010

    Marcus is only pondering his next fihing trip to Canada and dreaming of a large successfull catch to feed the multitudes at shore lunch and be the hero of the day,as he lay down for the night in his bed,
    he merely has the ability and luxury of thought now for such trivial persuits,because he no longer needs it to grow hair on his head.

    P.S. The (hairy) dog is a Freudian slip dead giveaway in his poetic lament to the loss of his hair(ie;youth)!

  5. Beng Nah · March 13, 2010

    Powerful ending though sad. Thank you Marcus!

  6. Nick Fryman · March 13, 2010

    Marcus, it’s time that your poetry reaches a wider audience. Congratulations!

  7. gigi · March 13, 2010

    Marcus is truly one of my all time favorite poets.
    He’s up there with Whitman, Edna St. Vincent Mllay, ee cummings.
    His poems bring on memories, longings, heartache and hope. And sometimes, even laughter.

    Thank you Marcus, for opening your veins like that.

  8. Sandy M · March 13, 2010

    Marcus, old soul…I see you

  9. Cassy · March 13, 2010

    Beautiful words to reflect upon and to wrap my “old man” and little baby boy in.

  10. anniew3000 · March 13, 2010

    Perfectly wonderful! A perfect moment inside of the big question. I love your work, Marcus!
    Alexis Rhone Fancher

  11. Nick Orchard · March 13, 2010

    Concise, moving, and oh so true. I love it. Jessica would have loved it–
    As she loved you.

  12. Denise Ferris · March 14, 2010

    I likes that this reflects the mood of survival of another winter and the spring picnic atmosphere of rebirth. Tomorrow: Daylight Savings!

  13. Marcus · March 15, 2010

    Thanks everyone! Happy you enjoyed one of my recent renderings.
    I actually felt the birthing of this poem and cried as I sketched it out over at Espresso Cielo on Main Street & Marine (wonderful new cafe). Too, I am using some techniques gleaned from my recent acquaintance with Jack Grapes and his Collective.
    Thanks Lisa for hosting the Juicy Juice bar. I’m feeling really juiced today.

    Also The photo was taken by Ralph Starkweather a noble photographer friend.

    Love you,

    Marcus Elman

    Love to you all on the amazing journey of NOW!

  14. lkthayer · March 16, 2010

    Marcus, you are the juicy one! Send me more poems to squeeze please! 🙂

  15. Adesh Kaur · March 27, 2010

    Thanks Marcus. I love this poem. I love your work.

  16. Yiltzhak Greenfield · June 10, 2010

    Thanks for sharing your poem with me.

    come and visit my studio again

    your new friend Yitzhak

  17. Yitzhak Greenfield · July 27, 2010

    Shalom Marcus
    I wrote to your Email no. several times my letters bounced. your Email no is not working, I sent my books to your friends Wilensky and Silberger as you requested. The stilllife painting you were interested in is waiting for you in my gallery in Ein Kerem.

    Marcus be a mensh and write

    I can illustrate your poems Ive done several books.

    Your friend Yitzhak

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