Bocce Player’s Reverie

by stewart

In my mind’s eye, while driving to graduate school

Through the busy lower east side streets of Manhattan,

I still see them;

Often, rising unannounced into my thoughts.

Wondering what is was about them

That intrigued me so?


Just an ordinary group of old men sitting, standing,

Laughing and talking:

As they took turns rolling their bocce balls;

Each trying to out-play another.

While the rest of the world,

Including myself,

Busy with duties, running errands

And tending to daily cares.

Seemingly free of entanglements, these old fellows sipped their wine,

Joked, played their shots and eased their way home

For a warm, cooked meal and nap.


In their own way, enjoying hours of companionship: talking of the old country

And their village; embracing the morning sunlight across their face.

O the joys and pleasures of life long friends: living, being,

And planning every roll of the ball.


Now, I have had many seasons, walking long miles;

Slowly, life has shown me

The allure of that early morning game.

Here for a brief moment-

Freedom from care;

The chance to express oneself

In the arena of friendship and competition.


Bocce a game worth playing well; an opponent

To test one self against; among the support

And friendly gibes of others.


Mostly, life is very distant from these games.

Often filled with sickness, worry and death;

Particularly as one grows older, we forget how to play.

Bocce like life, an opportunity

To create, have fun, test one self and be accepted.


Now in my life, there are few bocce games and friendly companions.

Sadly, they exist only in an old man’s reverie;

Lost someplace, in another time;

On a distant dirt covered, bocce court

Situated alongside a city cross street.


Yet, in my mind’s eye,

Fondly this memory lingers;

Causing a smile to touch my lips,

And a tear to gently roll down my cheek.



Check-out my two new books: Sufism for Western Seekers: Path of the Spiritual Traveler in Everyday Life and The Ferryman’s Dream.  Both books are available through or local bookstore.


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