There is something very re-assuring in the congregation of old people in parks or wherever enjoying a hearty conversation.They look so comfortable together. Presumably a certain pressure of competition is lifted and they can just enjoy the moment.(Then again maybe the pressure is as intense as ever). One of the pities of Irish weather is that communal park life never got to the levels that can be seen in warmer countries.
It was, of course, bridge life:
the monk-like garb of old men,
their herring-boned elbows on the parapet,
at home with those ancient lichens
and warmed by their burning pipe fires.
It was those muffled conversations
drifting back between their capped heads
like smoke; their ease, their shapes
hardened or softened by the rain
like limbs of trees left there for cutting.
And it was the river flowing, weaving
their childhood and old years into a tweed:
a comfortable cloth, their cloth, the cloth
to warm their bones when the wind comes
that makes old teeth chatter.