"Very Old Man" is an 1854 poem by Irish scholar and poet James Henry. The speaker (the very old man of the title) compares his life at age 70 with his memories of being a toddler. He still has hopes and fears about the unknown, just as he did in childhood, only now he lacks the physical and mental strength to explore the world around him. The speaker senses his world shrinking and death fast approaching, with little hope of any neat conclusion or resolution. The poem implicitly questions the purpose of life, offering no false comfort in the process.