May 7, 2010

The Old King

The gray-bearded king shifted uneasily on his hard throne as the trumpets blared behind him. He sighed, dreading all the tired pomp-and-circumstance formality that encumbered such events. He just knew he felt tired. So very tired, in fact, that he couldn’t even recall what event he was here to suffer through.

He sighed and his eyes scanned the room. He saw the strange faces of new dukes, assorted lords and unknown ladies dressed in their finery, lesser-ranking noblemen and women.

“Where are all my old friends?” he wondered to himself, “Who are all these people? Why don’t I know anybody here?” Occasionally faces in the crowd seemed fleeting familiar, but the brief recognition would slip away before a name could present itself.

The trumpets died down and there was an uncomfortable silence. It seemed they were all waiting for something - he couldn’t remember what - then a low murmur started at the far end of the room, followed by a growing wave of applause. The crowd parted and a man came through carrying a large white cake with an unlit candle on top. A... birthday cake? “My birthday cake!” the king suddenly realized, “Good! I like cake!”

The man brought the cake forward, bowing as he presented it to the king. The man lit the candle on the cake, said “Happy birthday, Dad!” and began singing. The crowd joined in, voices filling the room. When the song ended the king looked around, adjusting his paper crown and smiling uncertainly. It seemed that he was supposed to – do - something?  Oh, of course!

He wheezed air into his lungs and weakly blew out the candle. Everybody clapped and smiled. The man moved the cake to a table and began cutting pieces and putting them on paper plates. He brought the first piece to the king with a fork and a smile. The old king smiled back because he liked cake. He dug his fork into the cake and took a big, sweet mouthful.


  1. That was just so devious and so warm, creating and changing images to end up with the gift of a tear of sweet sadness in response!

  2. Fun post. King Dad!

  3. Happy sweet Birthday to the old king.....bkm

  4. a lovely story with happy endings...
    sweet cake, thanks for the treat.

  5. Happy Tuesday,
    Happy monday Poetry Potluck..
    Hope that you enjoy some work there...
    Thanks for the support.

    your entry is delicious and pleasant to us.

  6. Hmmm, Happy birthday to the King...what a fun read and all for the theme at Potluck!! You rock my dear friend...thanks so much for posting Eric. Have a great day:) xx

  7. Liked reading it.. thanks for sharing....

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    Twitter @VerseEveryDay

  8. A prose-ish poem! I love it! My potluck:

  9. Quite unusual coming across this after charging around poem after poem! I enjoyed it, and I liked the sweet ending.

  10. Saw that I commented on this last year! This is a great story-poem that fits the prompt so well.

  11. I found this very touching. Long live the King. : )

  12. That was like passing the baton, the young looking after the old but with charm. Nice story. Enjoy the potluck!

  13. no better end for a king than a sweet piece of cake! nice one Eric!

  14. Poor ol' king... he kept forgetting...while that "young man" knew it all too well..
    You have captured many a feeling in this one, Eric.. in fact, it gave me goosebumps, and tears too!

  15. the images and the story twisted suddenly, moving from an old confused king to an old memory-loss patient.
    wonderful job.

  16. Greetings:

    How have you been?

    I have been sick last week, sorry for missing some of your potluck entries.
    Hope to see you join our poetry potluck week 36 today!

    Week 36 Theme is sketches, images, and impressions,
    But you are NOT required to submit theme fitting pieces, old poems or poems unrelated to our theme are all welcome…

    Looking forward to reading you again.



You may put in your 2¢ worth, but I'll only pay you a penny for your thoughts.