The Bottom of the Cup

This is a poem about the way some people can be lost in their thoughts. I saw a man sat with his drink, he looked so thoughtful and peaceful and as I thought about that afterwards I wrote this poem.

Silent, almost motionless,
Static as a statue,
Long, straggly grey hair,
Mirrored by a shaggy beard,
With blue striped suit, brown brogues,
A character from Joyce’s Dublin,
Perhaps a little out of place,
In Rochdale’s cold glass clad malls,
He looked, well stared, intently,
At what? The bottom of his,
Empty coffee cup,
Fifteen minutes passed,
In home-time haste,
His gaze, steady and calm,
Neither fades, nor shifts
Not one sliver of a fractured inch
A few more minutes passed,
I sneaked a look,
But all I saw,
Was the bottom of his empty coffee cup,
An empty, used receptacle,
I went back and looked again,
I saw no more than drying coffee dregs,
I wondered what his gaze could see,
But couldn’t bring myself to ask,
He looked so calm, at peace,
A peace my uninvited voice mustn’t break,
Instead I asked myself,
What can he see?
Has he practiced through the years?
Has he perfected the art of seeing?
Can he see beyond mere eyes?
Did he break the chains in which we live?
The cast-iron shackles of the everyday
Was his mind flying free?
Looking down on the ordinary
In the bottom of his cup
Had it flown to
Another place, or another time
An unlived future yet to be revealed
A past lived then and lived again
An unseen present exposed just for him
No need for diaries
Or photos
Or fancy DVDs
Sitting with his memories
Perhaps his hopes
His dreams
His life beyond my eyes
I watched him as I walked away,
And wondered, could I learn to see?
To really see!
Like he can see,

In the bottom of a coffee cup