Monday, 6 October 2008


The combined Sibley-Weeks photographic skills -- I spot 'em, he shoots 'em -- resulted in this picture of a trio of empty chairs and their shadows snapped the other evening in a cold, blue floodlit glare on London's South Bank.

For some reason those deserted chairs put me in mind of a poem by Ogden Nash that I first read as a child but which - unlike Nash's usual witty observations of social mores with their delightfully tortuous rhymes - is a simple little ode that, even when young, I realised was laden with a significance that, one day, I would not just instinctively feel, but also understand...


People expect old men to die,
They do not really mourn old men.

Old men are different. People look

At them with eyes that wonder when...

People watch with unshocked eyes;

But the old men know when an old man dies.

- Ogden Nash

Images: David Weeks (with Brian Sibley) © 2008 [Click on image to enlarge]


LisaH said...

My immediate thought when seeing the picture was - set for amateur stage production.
I suppose what we should remember about the poem is that old men tend to be a lot older nowadays and that there a many more of them.

Brian Sibley said...

Yes, LISAH, it does look like a stage set, doesn't it? But it's actually on the concourse behind the Royal Festival Hall (and a stone's throw from the National Theatre) which is, after all, a suitably 'dramatic' location...

On the preponderance of Old Men today: doubtless the government will declare Open Season on them, sooner or later...