What happens when we are no longer young? When we aren’t quite so thin and the dewy tight skin is gone? When our beautiful blonde locks are graying? Some of us spend so much time and energy trying to hold on to that illusion of youth that we lose ourselves. In a society that worships youth and beauty it’s easy to feel lost, discarded. Invisible.
Aging is beautiful! It’s a natural process of life. It begins the moment we are born. Let’s create a new truth and erase those old stories. There is no fix for aging–except death. A better narrative is to see aging as a positive, natural stage in life. It’s time to be excited about new possibilities. To be as brilliant or moody or opinionated as we want. To honor the wisdom of our years and lived experiences.
When old age arrives, we are often unprepared. How do we let go of these inferiority complexes that we have about our aging selves? How do we create more positive images of ourselves? How do we look inward and redefine our self-worth? How can we love and accept ourselves more? Confronting this reality is the beginning of a healthy relationship to life, aging and death.
Here, we have collected more than 75 aging poems – The most famous and popular poems about growing old. These are beautiful and meaningful rhymes about aging. Enjoy instead of worrying about your age by contemplating 75+ great ageing poems. Remember, we are aging, but we can always find beauty in our ever changing bodies and minds. Hope you have beautiful moments on OZoFe.Com! All is the best!
That time of year thou mayst in me behold,
When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self that seals up all in rest.
In me thou seest the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
Verse, a breeze mid blossoms straying,
Where Hope clung feeding, like a bee—
Both were mine! Life went a-maying
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy,
When I was young!
When I was young?—Ah, woful When!
Ah! for the change ‘twixt Now and Then!
This breathing house not built with hands,
This body that does me grievous wrong,
O’er aery cliffs and glittering sands,
How lightly then it flashed along:—
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore,
On winding lakes and rivers wide,
That ask no aid of sail or oar,
That fear no spite of wind or tide!
Nought cared this body for wind or weather
When Youth and I lived in’t together.
Flowers are lovely; Love is flower-like;
Friendship is a sheltering tree;
O! the joys, that came down shower-like,
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty,
Ere I was old!
Ere I was old? Ah woful Ere,
Which tells me, Youth’s no longer here!
O Youth! for years so many and sweet,
‘Tis known, that Thou and I were one,
I’ll think it but a fond conceit—
It cannot be that Thou art gone!
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet toll’d:—
And thou wert aye a masker bold!
What strange disguise hast now put on,
To make believe, that thou are gone?
I see these locks in silvery slips,
This drooping gait, this altered size:
But Spring-tide blossoms on thy lips,
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes!
Life is but thought: so think I will
That Youth and I are house-mates still.
Dew-drops are the gems of morning,
But the tears of mournful eve!
Where no hope is, life’s a warning
That only serves to make us grieve,
When we are old:
That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like some poor nigh-related guest,
That may not rudely be dismist;
Yet hath outstay’d his welcome while,
And tells the jest without the smile.
3, I Still Matter © Pat A. Fleming
My looks are nothing special,
My face reveals my age,
My body shows some wear and tear,
And my energy’s not the same.
Too often my memory fails me,
And I lose things all the time.
One minute I know what I plan to do,
And the next it may just slip my mind.
I try hard to avoid my mirror.
There are things I would rather not see,
And even those times when I just catch a glimpse,
I can no longer recognize me.
The things I used to do with ease
Can now cause aches and pains,
And the quality of the things I do
Will never be quite the same.
I always compare my older self
To those younger versions of me,
And I know I’m wasting too much time
Missing who I used to be.
But the thing that really makes me sad
Is despite what people see,
Underneath my tattered, worn out shell,
I’m still the same old me.
My heart can still feel endless love,
And at times it still can ache.
My heart can fill with so much joy,
And then it can suddenly break.
My soul can still feel sympathy
And longs for forgiveness and peace,
And there are times its light shines boldly through,
And times when it longs for release.
It’s true, maybe now that I’m older,
Feeling lonely may be status quo,
But it also has made me more willing
To forgive and let past conflicts go.
So maybe to some I look ugly and old,
A person who barely exists.
I’m still quite aware of the beauty inside,
And my value should not be dismissed.
So although not as strong and no beauty, it’s true,
I’m still here and want so much to live,
And I know that there’s no one in this world quite like me,
And no one who has more to give.
What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory of the form,
The lustre of the eye?
Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?
Yes, but not for this alone.
Is it to feel our strength—
Not our bloom only, but our strength—decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?
Yes, this, and more! but not,
Ah, ’tis not what in youth we dreamed ‘twould be!
‘Tis not to have our life
Mellowed and softened as with sunset-glow,
A golden day’s decline!
‘Tis not to see the world
As from a height, with rapt prophetic eyes,
And heart profoundly stirred;
And weep, and feel the fulness of the past,
The years that are no more!
It is to spend long days
And not once feel that we were ever young.
It is to add, immured
In the hot prison of the present, month
To month with weary pain.
It is to suffer this,
And feel but half, and feebly, what we feel:
Deep in our hidden heart
Festers the dull remembrance of a change,
But no emotion—none.
It is—last stage of all—
When we are frozen up within, and quite
The phantom of ourselves,
To hear the world applaud the hollow ghost
Which blamed the living man.
I LOOK into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, “Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!”
For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.
6, I Am Not Old © Nandita Shailesh Shanbhag
My eyes are fine; they are just printing words small.
I just use a walking stick to seem stately and tall.
Nothing is wrong with my sense of smell.
My ears are fine if you don’t whisper but yell.
The wrinkles are just laugh lines; they will go away.
It is fashion that has turned my hair from black to grey.
It’s the cold, not age that is stiffening my knees.
I like to hum as I walk; it’s not a wheeze.
What extra kilos? My scale is broken down.
If I try, I can still fit into my wedding gown.
My bones don’t creak; my shoes are new.
My memory is sharp. Oh, do I know you?
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit of the world,
A white-hair’d shadow roaming like a dream
The ever-silent spaces of the East,
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man—
So glorious in his beauty and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem’d
To his great heart none other than a God!
I ask’d thee, ‘Give me immortality.’
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men, who care not how they give.
But thy strong Hours indignant work’d their wills,
And beat me down and marr’d and wasted me,
And tho’ they could not end me, left me maim’d
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was, in ashes. Can thy love,
Thy beauty, make amends, tho’ even now,
Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears
To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift:
Why should a man desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of men
Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?
A soft air fans the cloud apart; there comes
A glimpse of that dark world where I was born.
Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals
From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure,
And bosom beating with a heart renew’d.
Thy cheek begins to redden thro’ the gloom,
Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine,
Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team
Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise,
And shake the darkness from their loosen’d manes,
And beat the twilight into flakes of fire.
Lo! ever thus thou growest beautiful
In silence, then before thine answer given
Departest, and thy tears are on my cheek.
Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true?
‘The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts.’
Ay me! ay me! with what another heart
In days far-off, and with what other eyes
I used to watch—if I be he that watch’d—
The lucid outline forming round thee; saw
The dim curls kindle into sunny rings;
Changed with thy mystic change, and felt my blood
Glow with the glow that slowly crimson’d all
Thy presence and thy portals, while I lay,
Mouth, forehead, eyelids, growing dewy-warm
With kisses balmier than half-opening buds
Of April, and could hear the lips that kiss’d
Whispering I knew not what of wild and sweet,
Like that strange song I heard Apollo sing,
While Ilion like a mist rose into towers.
Yet hold me not for ever in thine East:
How can my nature longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet
Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam
Floats up from those dim fields about the homes
Of happy men that have the power to die,
And grassy barrows of the happier dead.
Release me, and restore me to the ground;
Thou seëst all things, thou wilt see my grave:
Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn;
I earth in earth forget these empty courts,
And thee returning on thy silver wheels.
9, I’m A Person Too © Dawn Mazzola
Here I lie in bed again, Awaiting my next meal.
A worker barges in my room, As if it’s no big deal.
What ever happened to courtesy? Just a little knock.
Do you think I’m just a vegetable, Laying here like a rock?
What ever happened to manners? I haven’t got a clue.
BUT KEEP IN MIND AND DON’T FORGET, THAT I’M A PERSON TOO.
I know I can not talk, Or even joke around.
But I’m well aware of everything, and also every sound.
If you have another worker help, change me during rounds.
Please don’t talk about me, as if I’m not around.
Treat me with respect, the same I’d give to you.
KEEP IN MIND AND DON’T FORGET, THAT I’M A PERSON TOO.
My bones are stiff and achy, I hear you say I’m contracted.
My belly hurts, I haven’t pooped, I hope I’m not impacted.
I’m sorry I may drool, and at times I even stare.
It’s not easy being old, aging isn’t fair.
These are the cards God dealt me, There’s nothing I can do.
JUST KEEP IN MIND AND DON’T FORGET, THAT I’M A PERSON TOO.
I used to be a lively one, just like your pretty self.
I traveled, married, and worked long hours until I lost my health.
I press my light to see a face, Or just for company.
For someone just to look inside, and realize that I’m ME.
You walked past my light, what am I to do?
PLEASE REMEMBER I’M A PERSON TOO.
I’m sorry that I messed the bed, I feel like such a baby.
I’m so embarrassed, and ashamed, that I’m doing this at eighty.
I’m sorry I couldn’t hold it, I didn’t know what to do.
KEEP IN MIND AND DON’T FORGET, THAT I’M A PERSON TOO.
I wish that I was able, to communicate some way.
So finally I’d get the chance, to say what I want to say.
I hear you talk with other patients, so please don’t walk away.
If everyone showed a little compassion, I wouldn’t feel this way.
My name is Helen, and I’m all alone.
Cancer took my husband, he had it in his bones.
We had one child, our precious son.
Until his life was taken by a gun.
So here I am, no family left, as loneliness weighs heavy on my chest.
I may be sad, I may be blue.
PLEASE REMEMBER I’M A PERSON TOO.
Next time my light is on, come and see if I’m OK.
I’m a retired nurse of thirty years, and would love to hear about your day.
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees,
—Those dying generations—at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.
O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.
Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
11, Warning © Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
12, The Forgotten Mother © Ruby Latimer Edwards
A gray old woman sits all alone
Unloved, uncherished and unknown.
Sitting beside her broken door.
Dreaming of days past long ago,
When children played about her knee
Filling the air with childish glee,
Tended by her with loving care.
Knowing the blessing of a Mother’s prayer.
But now they have gone, each to his life
A girl to her husband, a boy to his wife,
Forgetful are they of her who sits here
Silently wiping a tricking tear,
For striving for things in a life so brief
Blind their poor eyes to a dear Mother’s grief.
But does she upbraid them in word or in mind.
Nor does their neglect to her seem unkind.
She’ll forgive and forget all unkindness they’ve shown
This poor old mother who sits alone.
Said the little boy, ‘Sometimes I drop my spoon.’
Said the old man, ‘I do that too.’
The little boy whispered, ‘I wet my pants.’
‘I do that too,’ laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, ‘I often cry.’
The old man nodded, ‘So do I.’
‘But worst of all,’ said the boy, ‘it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.’
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
‘I know what you mean,’ said the little old man.
14, Aging Gracefully © Suzette Richards
I must do everything a bit slower nowadays
drinking my coffee
taking the dog for his morning walk in the town park
deciding which breakfast role I fancy from the delicatessen
no one is hurrying me along to choose
no deadlines to meet
no meetings to prepare for
I’m my own boss now
the library has become my second home
catching up on the reading of the classics
what pleasure it is to travel in my mind
making love is not a marathon as in our youth
it is a mutual appreciation
tender and thoughtful
we will take everything a bit slower nowadays
is a privilege
granted few people.
15, Clearing The Way © Alora M. Knight
I have waited quite a long time to get old,
So I think I should try to enjoy it.
I can’t turn it in for a refund,
And I surely don’t want to destroy it.
They tell me that life is a one-way street,
As if I am too dumb to know.
I might as well keep moving on forward.
There’s not much choice where to go.
I would like to lighten the luggage
I’ve accumulated over the years.
I’d be smart to release all the memories
That brought about heartache and tears.
That would make living much better,
Free up space that then could be filled
With appreciation for the good things in life,
With the promise that then I could build
A future that lives for the moment,
With little concern for the past.
My time will be filled with contentment,
No matter how long it will last.
So now that I’m ready for the rest of the trip,
I foresee no problems ahead.
I’ll make each day be a worthwhile event,
With no regrets for the life I have led.
A new volcano has erupted,
the papers say, and last week I was reading
where some ship saw an island being born:
at first a breath of steam, ten miles away;
and then a black fleck—basalt, probably—
rose in the mate’s binoculars
and caught on the horizon like a fly.
They named it. But my poor old island’s still
None of the books has ever got it right.
Well, I had fifty-two
miserable, small volcanoes I could climb
with a few slithery strides—
volcanoes dead as ash heaps.
I used to sit on the edge of the highest one
and count the others standing up,
naked and leaden, with their heads blown off.
I’d think that if they were the size
I thought volcanoes should be, then I had
become a giant;
and if I had become a giant,
I couldn’t bear to think what size
the goats and turtles were,
or the gulls, or the overlapping rollers
—a glittering hexagon of rollers
closing and closing in, but never quite,
glittering and glittering, though the sky
was mostly overcast.
My island seemed to be
a sort of cloud-dump. All the hemisphere’s
left-over clouds arrived and hung
above the craters—their parched throats
were hot to touch.
Was that why it rained so much?
And why sometimes the whole place hissed?
The turtles lumbered by, high-domed,
hissing like teakettles.
(And I’d have given years, or taken a few,
for any sort of kettle, of course.)
The folds of lava, running out to sea,
would hiss. I’d turn. And then they’d prove
to be more turtles.
The beaches were all lava, variegated,
black, red, and white, and gray;
the marbled colors made a fine display.
And I had waterspouts. Oh,
half a dozen at a time, far out,
they’d come and go, advancing and retreating,
their heads in cloud, their feet in moving patches
of scuffed-up white.
Glass chimneys, flexible, attenuated,
sacerdotal beings of glass … I watched
the water spiral up in them like smoke.
Beautiful, yes, but not much company.
I often gave way to self-pity.
“Do I deserve this? I suppose I must.
I wouldn’t be here otherwise. Was there
a moment when I actually chose this?
I don’t remember, but there could have been.”
What’s wrong about self-pity, anyway?
With my legs dangling down familiarly
over a crater’s edge, I told myself
“Pity should begin at home.” So the more
pity I felt, the more I felt at home.
The sun set in the sea; the same odd sun
rose from the sea,
and there was one of it and one of me.
The island had one kind of everything:
one tree snail, a bright violet-blue
with a thin shell, crept over everything,
over the one variety of tree,
a sooty, scrub affair.
Snail shells lay under these in drifts
and, at a distance,
you’d swear that they were beds of irises.
There was one kind of berry, a dark red.
I tried it, one by one, and hours apart.
Sub-acid, and not bad, no ill effects;
and so I made home-brew. I’d drink
the awful, fizzy, stinging stuff
that went straight to my head
and play my home-made flute
(I think it had the weirdest scale on earth)
and, dizzy, whoop and dance among the goats.
Home-made, home-made! But aren’t we all?
I felt a deep affection for
the smallest of my island industries.
No, not exactly, since the smallest was
a miserable philosophy.
Because I didn’t know enough.
Why didn’t I know enough of something?
Greek drama or astronomy? The books
I’d read were full of blanks;
the poems—well, I tried
reciting to my iris-beds,
“They flash upon that inward eye,
which is the bliss …” The bliss of what?
One of the first things that I did
when I got back was look it up.
The island smelled of goat and guano.
The goats were white, so were the gulls,
and both too tame, or else they thought
I was a goat, too, or a gull.
Baa, baa, baa and shriek, shriek, shriek,
baa … shriek … baa … I still can’t shake
them from my ears; they’re hurting now.
The questioning shrieks, the equivocal replies
over a ground of hissing rain
and hissing, ambulating turtles
got on my nerves.
When all the gulls flew up at once, they sounded
like a big tree in a strong wind, its leaves.
I’d shut my eyes and think about a tree,
an oak, say, with real shade, somewhere.
I’d heard of cattle getting island-sick.
I thought the goats were.
One billy-goat would stand on the volcano
I’d christened Mont d’Espoir or Mount Despair
(I’d time enough to play with names),
and bleat and bleat, and sniff the air.
I’d grab his beard and look at him.
His pupils, horizontal, narrowed up
and expressed nothing, or a little malice.
I got so tired of the very colors!
One day I dyed a baby goat bright red
with my red berries, just to see
something a little different.
And then his mother wouldn’t recognize him.
Dreams were the worst. Of course I dreamed of food
and love, but they were pleasant rather
than otherwise. But then I’d dream of things
like slitting a baby’s throat, mistaking it
for a baby goat. I’d have
nightmares of other islands
stretching away from mine, infinities
of islands, islands spawning islands,
like frogs’ eggs turning into polliwogs
of islands, knowing that I had to live
on each and every one, eventually,
for ages, registering their flora,
their fauna, their geography.
Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it
another minute longer, Friday came.
(Accounts of that have everything all wrong.)
Friday was nice.
Friday was nice, and we were friends.
If only he had been a woman!
I wanted to propagate my kind,
and so did he, I think, poor boy.
He’d pet the baby goats sometimes,
and race with them, or carry one around.
—Pretty to watch; he had a pretty body.
And then one day they came and took us off.
Now I live here, another island,
that doesn’t seem like one, but who decides?
My blood was full of them; my brain
bred islands. But that archipelago
has petered out. I’m old.
I’m bored, too, drinking my real tea,
surrounded by uninteresting lumber.
The knife there on the shelf—
it reeked of meaning, like a crucifix.
It lived. How many years did I
beg it, implore it, not to break?
I knew each nick and scratch by heart,
the bluish blade, the broken tip,
the lines of wood-grain on the handle …
Now it won’t look at me at all.
The living soul has dribbled away.
My eyes rest on it and pass on.
The local museum’s asked me to
leave everything to them:
the flute, the knife, the shrivelled shoes,
my shedding goatskin trousers
(moths have got in the fur),
the parasol that took me such a time
remembering the way the ribs should go.
It still will work but, folded up,
looks like a plucked and skinny fowl.
How can anyone want such things?
—And Friday, my dear Friday, died of measles
seventeen years ago come March.
17, The Hands Of A Warrior © Pat A. Fleming
Purple veins strain against the skin.
Pale, translucent, paper thin.
Skinny fingers clawed in monstrous shapes,
Brown spots from years that she can’t erase.
Now wrinkled and fragile, weak and sore,
So many things she can’t do anymore.
Some days she feels she’s been betrayed
By the cruelty of her advancing age.
She rubs her hands to ease the ache
And recalls the life they helped to make.
She looks at them and feels the loss,
Living a life bears a very high cost.
These hands that held her children near,
That gently dried their salty tears.
Hands that held her husband’s tight,
That never let go against the fight.
Miraculous hands that protected and soothed.
Hands, they conveyed her every mood.
Hands so strong they could carry the weight,
That would never give up and never forsake.
Those hands that took little but always gave,
Hands that applauded each achievement made.
Those soft, sweet hands that gently cared,
For those sick or lost in dark despair.
Hands that fussed and fumbled that day
Her husband gave their daughter away.
Those hands holding tight as he slowly died,
Caressing his brow as she stood by his side.
Hands that rocked her grandson to sleep,
That gladly took over when others grew weak.
Hands that once held everyone that she loved,
And prayed for strength to our God above.
Hands that were always so willing to give,
Hands that reveal a life fully lived.
Small, feeble hands, now empty and cold,
These hands that each day will keep growing old.
These hands she now tends to hide away,
These hands that at times make her feel ashamed.
Grotesque and useless in her eyes,
They rest in her lap as she quietly cries.
But I see the hands of a hero so true,
A woman who survived what this life put her through.
A woman whose heart still shimmers like gold,
With the hands of a warrior who made her mark on this world.
18, Dockery And Son © Philip Larkin
‘Dockery was junior to you,
Wasn’t he?’ said the Dean. ‘His son’s here now.’
Death-suited, visitant, I nod. ‘And do
You keep in touch with—’ Or remember how
Black-gowned, unbreakfasted, and still half-tight
We used to stand before that desk, to give
‘Our version’ of ‘these incidents last night’?
I try the door of where I used to live:
Locked. The lawn spreads dazzlingly wide.
A known bell chimes. I catch my train, ignored.
Canal and clouds and colleges subside
Slowly from view. But Dockery, good Lord,
Anyone up today must have been born
In ’43, when I was twenty-one.
If he was younger, did he get this son
At nineteen, twenty? Was he that withdrawn
High-collared public-schoolboy, sharing rooms
With Cartwright who was killed? Well, it just shows
How much … How little … Yawning, I suppose
I fell asleep, waking at the fumes
And furnace-glares of Sheffield, where I changed,
And ate an awful pie, and walked along
The platform to its end to see the ranged
Joining and parting lines reflect a strong
Unhindered moon. To have no son, no wife,
No house or land still seemed quite natural.
Only a numbness registered the shock
Of finding out how much had gone of life,
How widely from the others. Dockery, now:
Only nineteen, he must have taken stock
Of what he wanted, and been capable
Of … No, that’s not the difference: rather, how
Convinced he was he should be added to!
Why did he think adding meant increase?
To me it was dilution. Where do these
Innate assumptions come from? Not from what
We think truest, or most want to do:
Those warp tight-shut, like doors. They’re more a style
Our lives bring with them: habit for a while,
Suddenly they harden into all we’ve got
And how we got it; looked back on, they rear
Like sand-clouds, thick and close, embodying
For Dockery a son, for me nothing,
Nothing with all a son’s harsh patronage.
Life is first boredom, then fear.
Whether or not we use it, it goes,
And leaves what something hidden from us chose,
And age, and then the only end of age.
19, The Time Of My Life © Alora M. Knight
I realize I’ve reached the time
When it’s very plain to see
That I now must be selective
In what my preferences will be.
No longer can I toss a coin
To see which direction I should go.
As far as speed in getting there,
Only one would fit, and that is SLOW.
It’s wise to have a goal each day,
There is no doubt about it.
A reason to rise each morning.
No one should be without it.
Still, if I decide to dilly-dally
Throughout the passing day,
A bit of procrastination
Is bound to come my way.
I can read with great delight
Great books that I’ve forgotten,
And if I chose, I now can read
The ones that were verboten.
I do not waste my energy
On things that can’t be changed.
If I spent time on past mistakes,
I soon would be deranged.
Life has much to offer
To each and everyone.
I hope to conquer many things
Before my time is done.
When I’ve fulfilled my challenges,
And hopefully passed each test,
Then I will wave a fond good goodbye,
Content I’ve done my best.
20, The Old Gods © Dannie Abse
The gods, old as night, don’t trouble us.
Poor weeping Venus! Her pubic hairs are grey,
and her magic love girdle has lost its spring.
Neptune wonders where he put his trident.
Mars is gaga – illusory vultures on the wing.
Pluto exhumed, blinks. My kind of world, he thinks.
Kidnapping and rape, like my Front Page exploits
adroitly brutal – but he looks out of sorts when
other unmanned gods shake their heads tut tut,
respond boastingly, boringly anecdotal.
Diana has done a bunk, fearing astronauts.
Saturn, Time on his hands, stares at nothing and
nothing stares back. Glum Bacchus talks ad nauseam
of cirrhosis and small bald Cupid, fiddling
with arrows, can’t recall which side the heart is.
All the old gods have become enfeebled,
mere playthings for poets. Few, doze or daft,
frolic on Parnassian clover. True, sometimes
summer light dies in a room – but only
a bearded profile in a cloud floats over.
21, Changing Places © Alora M. Knight
I see the sadness in your eyes,
The times that you are knowing
What’s happening to your wondrous mind,
The symptoms you are showing.
It was so hard to recognize
When they started coming through.
The little things that changed you
From the person that I knew.
The doctor’s confirmation
Was so hard to accept,
To know that little could be done,
That there’s no cure as of yet.
Forgive me, dear, if sometimes
I give in to my frustrations.
It’s just so overwhelming,
This change in our relations.
Now I’m the one to be on guard,
To keep you safe from harm,
Protecting you the best I can
And not showing my alarm.
I hope you still can understand
How much you mean to me.
Though you curse me or forget me,
I’ll accept what has to be.
For I will still remember
The joys that we once shared.
You showed me in so many ways
How very much you cared.
I pray to God to give me strength
To do what must be done,
To trust that in the future
This battle will be won.
22, Mrs Baldwin © Fleur Adcock
And then there’s the one about the old woman
who very apologetically asks the way
to Church Lane, adding ‘I ought to know:
I’ve lived there since the war’. So you go with her.
This comes with variations, usually leading
(via a list of demented ancestors)
to calculations of how much time you’ve got
before you’re asking the way to your own house.
But it’s not so often that you find the one
about how, whenever you hear of someone
diagnosed with cancer, you have to hide
that muffled pang that clutched you, at fifteen,
when you saw Pauline Edwards holding hands
with the boy from the Social Club you’d always fancied.
23, Living With Dementia © Annabel Sheila
She’s trapped inside the prison walls
That used to be her mind.
The woman that she used to be,
Has long been left behind.
There are times she’s quite alert,
Her memory’s still intact.
Then there are days when she disappears,
And we know it’s not an act.
No longer able to care for herself,
We couldn’t leave her alone.
Her safety had to be assured,
So we placed her in a home.
Good days are when we visit her,
And she calls us by our name.
She’s grateful for the company,
And thankful that we came.
Most of the time it’s difficult,
To see our Mom that way.
All we can do is love her now,
As we take life day by day.
24, On Aging © Maya Angelou
When you see me sitting quietly,
Like a sack left on the shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering.
I’m listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me!
Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it,
Otherwise I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching,
And my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor:
Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
When you see me walking, stumbling,
Don’t study and get it wrong.
‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy
And every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then,
A little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.
But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.
25, Kid Stuff © Brian A. Bendall
Many, many years ago
When I was just a kid,
And I had just began to grow,
There’s stuff I had and did.
I’m thinking back on all those things
That life saw fit to give me.
If I can’t remember everything,
I hope you will forgive me.
Chocolate candy cigarettes
And big bubble gum cigars.
Mini Bricks and Red Ball Jets,
Hopscotch and Dinky cars.
Mercurochrome and iodine;
Band-aids in a can.
Your watch required a daily wind,
And Etch-A-Sketch was grand.
In school, the teacher had to see
Just what you had to do.
You held one finger up for pee;
You held up two for poo!
Marbles, Slinkys, Lincoln Logs,
Ker Plunk and Pick Up Sticks,
With Yo-yos, you could “walk the dog,”
And ice cream came in bricks.
Arrows all had suction cups
And guns had rolls of caps.
Paddle Balls and Tonka Trucks
Big red lips were wax,
Bumps on heads, being black and blue,
Was minor when compared to
Being sick with cold or flu!
Have fun? You’re not prepared to!
Measles, mumps, and chicken pox
Always seemed to flare.
They opened up Pandora’s Box
And caught us unaware!
With medicine and care from mom,
Our time in bed was cut!
But I can’t remember anyone
Allergic to a nut!
Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys
And also Brothers Grimm.
But Mark Twain was my pride and joy!
I never could resist him!
Hide and seek and tag were there.
New energy we found!
No more teacher scorns to bear
When summer came around.
PF Flyer running shoes,
Steel roller skates had keys.
There were phone booths we could use
If there’s emergencies.
Rolling down a grassy hill
In parks was a delight.
Nicky Nine Doors was a thrill,
But only played at night!
We rode our bikes with playing cards
Flapping on our spokes.
We played in all our friends’ backyards
And told our “Knock Knock” jokes.
Climbing fences, climbing trees
Were common things to do.
Getting bruised or skinning knees?
That was nothing new!
Two wheel scooters, kiddy cars,
We had Soap Box Rallies.
Baseball teams and monkey bars
And close by bowling alleys.
In winter, there were snowball fights
And snow forts for protection.
And when a bitter wind would bite,
Few kids raised objection!
Speeding down a snowy slope
On sleds and blown up tires.
“Is it too steep?” We all said, “Nope!”
We wanted to go higher!
In our teens were Levi jeans,
Duck and pony tails.
Sock hops were a common scene
Where dancing would prevail.
Bobby socks and poodle skirts
And continental slacks.
White buck shoes and fancy shirts,
Guitars and wailing sax!
Computers? What on Earth were they?!
Well, they would show up later.
And none I knew could dare display
Cell phones or calculators!
Many things I’ve mentioned here
Are still with us today.
But lots of kids, it does appear,
Ignore this great buffet!
What happened to the world I knew?
Have kids today stopped growing?
If time machines were really true,
I know where I’d be going!
Dick, Jane, Spot and Puff
Are nothing now but jokes.
But maybe I have said enough,
So I’ll say, “That’s all folks!”
26, What I Regret © Nina Cassian
. . . never having heard the voice of the Dodo bird . . .
. . . never having smelled the Japanese cherry trees . . .
. . . never having punished the lovers and friends that deserted me . . .
. . . never having asked for honours that I deserved . . .
. . . never having composed a Mozart sonata . . .
. . . never having realised that I’d live long enough to regret all the above . . .
. . . and much, much more . . .
27, Remember Then © Catherine Cordeiro
When you feel bad for what you say
Remember your mom wasn’t always this way.
She is your mom and used to be
A woman who cared, much like me.
To see her not be herself
And say things out of sort
Your heart goes out and is saddened
By the very thought.
You can see she is not always bright.
She’s losing herself
And she does not feel right.
Remember her as she once was
And try to forget what she does.
Take each day and let it go
For she won’t remember what is so.
Go with her stories and her fears
And let her know you are here.
Take a deep breath and step aside
For she has only this one life.
Put on your patient hat and try
To understand the reason why.
She is old and she knows that
It’s very scary to wear her hat.
Try to start fresh each day
And make her feel she’s not in the way.
Smile, smile it usually works
Agree with all her quirks.
She is the only mom you’ll have
So love her dearly and don’t be sad.
28, Old Flame © Linda Chase
He turns my hand in his hand
as if to catch the light,
separating my fingers
to see my rings, one by one.
Questions and answers follow –
country, stones, when, from whom
and then my other hand
because this ritual has been
going on for fifty years
and there are no surprises,
as he counts the parts of me
and the decorations I choose.
But today I wear a bracelet
he has never seen before,
knowing that it’s to his taste,
that it will spark new attention
beyond his routine inspection.
Between the larger stones,
sit dashes of orange abalone,
keeping spaces in between
irregular chunks of turquoise.
He fingers them around my wrist
and I’m a girl again, fluttering
through her jewellery and her life.
29, A Geezer’s Gripings © Rick W. Cotton
I’m getting older, nature deems.
I’m coming apart at the seams.
The things that never hurt before
Now multiply, make more and more.
My hair is thinning, or could it be
Just relocating here on me?
Down my back and out my ears
‘Tis true! Oh horrid, horrid years!
My teeth were once all mine, oh, yes!
And stayed in place, in permanence!
And now, like stars, they’re out at night
(And why do my pants fit oh so tight?)
My hawk-like vision has relented.
Glasses this has circumvented.
I can still see, more or less,
But down at the DMV…..I guess!
There are advantages, I’m told
To all us geezers getting old.
Like discount coffee, oh that’s great!
(If we can get out of bed by eight.)
But still we soldier bravely on
And moan and groan with each new dawn.
For it’s a good thing that we see
The grass from the side that still is green!
You bring them in, a trug of thundercloud,
neglected in long grass and the sulk
of a wet summer. Now a weight of wet silk
in my arms like her blue dress, a load
of night-inks shaken from their hair –
her hair a flame, a shadow against light
as long ago she leaned to kiss goodnight
when downstairs was a bright elsewhere
like a lost bush of blue hydrangeas.
You found them, lovely, silky, dangerous,
their lapis lazulis, their indigoes
tide-marked and freckled with the rose
of death, beautiful in decline.
I touch my mother’s skin. Touch mine.
31, Keepsake © Mac Mckenzie
One day my dad was hunting, from his favorite hunting stand;
‘Twas a giant Oak with perfect limbs, under which two deer trails ran.
Now this favorite spot of Daddy’s was as unique as it could be,
’cause a lightning bolt had burned a giant hole down through that tree.
As he double checked his deer tags, as he did quite frequently,
he accidently dropped his wallet down the hole in that old tree.
Well, his family hunted from that tree ever since they’d been around,
And there was no way on God’s green earth he’d ever cut it down.
That Oak tree was my “learning stool” as dad was teaching me,
and most of what I learned ’bout deer was right there in that tree.
And I finally took my own first buck, right there from that old stand;
with Daddy sitting next to me to calm my nervous hands.
“I’ve taught you everything I know,” Dad proudly said to me;
“Someday we’ll bring my grandson here, and teach him in this tree”.
Well, I laughed and poked him on the arm; hell, I was just a kid,
But Daddy made me feel real good, somehow he always did.
Well, we shared some twenty seasons, and we watched some good bucks grow,
But unlike that mighty old Oak tree, on my dad those seasons showed.
Soon he’d grown too old to really hunt, still he’d sit with me in that stand,
and it was my turn to hold and steady the shaking in Daddy’s hands.
Then he died at the end of that season, ten years too soon to see
The grandson that he’d dreamed about get to hunt from that old tree.
And now it’s opening morning, on my son’s first whitetail hunt;
I’m sitting beside him in “Grandpa’s Tree” ’cause we both knew that’s what he would want.
Now I’d seen this scene from both sides of that limb, and it happened exactly the same;
we heard one coming, I steadied his hands, and here that old buck came.
He handled it just perfect; his Grandpa would’ve been proud,
I shook his hand and wiped a tear and looked up at the clouds.
Then we hung his deer right from our stand, and I took a Polaroid shot;
And I wanted so badly for Daddy to see the buck that his grandson got.
Then as I watched that picture develop in my hands,
I felt a breeze and heard a gentle rustling near that stand.
Then a little stronger gust of wind whipped the picture from my hand
and carried it briskly into that tree, above the old deer stand.
Well, my son said he’d go get it, but I told him “never mind.”
We’d take a few more later, but let’s leave that one behind.
‘Cause he could’ve looked forever, but I knew where it would be,
Tucked safely in Dad’s wallet, down the hole in that old tree.
32, “That Time Of Year Thou Mayst In Me Behold…” © Maureen Duffy
Poets don’t grow old gracefully:
recall old lusts with Hardy
or clamour like Yeats for new.
“How are you?” people ask them, meaning
“Goodness, you’re still alive.”
“Are you still writing?” signals
“If so, you’re quite forgotten.
I haven’t seen any reviews,”
and “Aren’t you going gently yet
into your good night?”
Gower, his loins frozen by Venus,
piped of a king and his bounty of wine.
Did he who’d sung of every turn and twist
of love regret the arrow’s sting he’d begged
Love’s priest to tear from his heart
as he lay apart from his chaste wife?
Merlin the magus, besotted in old age
entombed in the rock by Nimue for his lust
must have been a poet too.
How else could he have cast such spells?
When David was old they brought him a virgin
hoping for a new Song of Solomon.
Help us all then Lady, Sappho’s own goddess,
to sing your song until the last bittersweet note.
33, Mother © Tyrene Gibert
She’s sitting in a rocking chair.
She’s peeking out the window,
looking at the children playing, remembering her own.
She thinks back to baking bread for sandwiches,
putting bandages on skinned up knees,
singing lullabies, tucking the covers under chins so tight.
If she listens closely she can still hear the pitter patter of little feet,
laughter echoing through out the hall.
She lifts up her hand to feel her wet cheek where tears have fallen down.
All of her mothering seems to be in vain.
Grown daughters and sons are way too busy now.
Too busy to send cards, flowers,
or just pick up the phone.
Can’t you see her tender heart breaking as she rolls the chair away.
All of their needs put first and her needs thrown away.
One day it will be too late for their apologies, too late for the I love you.
No need to say it now when you should have done it now.
34, Ageing © Ruth Fainlight
Since early middle-age
(say around forty)
I’ve been writing about ageing,
poems in many registers:
fearful, enraged or accepting
as I moved through the decades.
Now that I’m really old
there seems little left to say.
Pointless to bewail
the decline, bodily and mental;
not to me only but everyone,
and ridiculous to celebrate
the wisdom supposedly gained
simply by staying alive.
—Nevertheless, to have faith
that you’ll be adored as an ancient
might make it all worthwhile.
Ageing means smiling at babies
in their pushchairs and strollers
(wondering if I look as crazy
as Virginia or Algernon—
though I don’t plan to bite!)
Realising I’m smiling at strangers.
It means no more roller-skating.
That used to be my favourite
sport, after school, every day:
to strap on my skates,
spin one full circle in place,
then swoop down the hill and away.
When I saw that young girl on her blades,
wind in her hair, sun on her face,
like a magazine illustration
from childhood days, racing
her boyfriend along the pavement:
—then I understood ageing.
35, Long Goodbyes © Lisa Hart
Nancy Reagan once said, “Alzheimer’s is just another word for a long goodbye”
Doctor’s told us that Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease that strips you of your dignity and pride.
Nurses told us that some go back to their childhood and some act like they’re five.
And we have all said, “We love her so much,” but she has changed; she’s just not the same.
You see, the doctors were wrong, you could never take away our mother’s dignity or pride.
Did she lose her dignity by asking us to bathe her, dress her, love and care for her?
I say no, because she did all those things and more for us.
The nurses were concerned about Mom going back to childhood.
But if you could, how many of you would love to be five again?
To remember that beautiful dress that Grandmother made just for you
Or to remember that little house that you grew up in
Or to maybe remember that special friend that you have missed for so long.
So maybe being five again wasn’t so bad after all.
We have all said or at least thought, “She has changed; she’s just not the same.”
But even with Alzheimer’s, Mom’s love never changed.
Mom’s love stayed the same.
So, maybe Nancy Reagan was right.
Alzheimer’s is a long goodbye.
But I thank God for this extra time.
Time not to say goodbye but time to love and honor her, as she did us.
So we say goodbye for now Mother, but only for a little while,
For in Heaven there are no “long goodbyes.”
In Heaven there is only eternity.
36, Long Life © Elaine Feinstein
Late Summer. Sunshine. The eucalyptus tree.
It is a fortune beyond any deserving
to be still here, with no more than everyday worries,
placidly arranging lines of poetry.
I consider a stick of cinammon
bound in raffia, finches
in the grass, and a stubby bush
which this year mothered a lemon.
These days I speak less of death
than the mysteries of survival. I am
no longer lonely, not yet frail, and
after surgery, recognise each breath
as a miracle. My generation may not be
nimble but, forgive us,
we’d like to hold on, stubbornly
content – even while ageing.
37, To Watch You, Admire You, Adore You © Danny Blackburn
I was a blessed today in a special way
I was able to be with you all day
I got to watch you, admire you, adore you and appreciate your smile
I watched you when you did not know I was looking, admiring your beauty all the while
I touched you and you complained, not of my touch but at what you feel are your imperfections
My wife so beautiful why can’t you see, God created you, you have matured with perfection
When I look at you I see a very beautiful woman, beauty so pure
When I touch you, you still move my heart and soul, that is for sure
When I feel your body with my hands, I feel so much
I feel warmth, love, and beauty in a touch
Yes, you have matured and for that I must say that I have no doubt
I also feel that you are more of a woman today that I could not live without
I love to feel your body, your skin so delicate, so fine
And then I think why am I so lucky that God has made you mine
I love you for who your are and who you have become
I love you because you have matured with me and our hearts are still so young
Your beauty is a mature beauty that shows the life of a mother and a wife
You are so perfect to me, so beautiful, I thank God that you are in my life
Please do not doubt me when I express to you how beautiful you are
You are as beautiful today as the first time I saw you and admired you from a far
To touch you and caress you gives me great pleasure
For to me I am in love with a very special treasure
Pammy, you are my life’s love and my one desire
38, On Hearing I’d Outlived My Son the Linguist © Roy Fisher
Two days since I heard you were gone
suddenly in your forties and with me still not quite eighty
and hour by hour today with no whole word all
the emptied patterns of your talk come crowding
into my brain for shelter:
bustling, warm, exact. You’d be interested.
39, Remembering © Alora M. Knight
When sleepless I lie,
As the hours slip by,
I go walking the paths back home.
I hear the meadowlark’s song
As I amble along
In this fanciful way that I roam.
As my memories clutter,
A tractor’s soft mutter
Is providing new chocolate brown fields
For the ground to be seeded
When spring planting is needed.
A plan for which all nature yields.
A tinkling cowbell
Tells me all is now well
With the herd contentedly grazing.
Mother cows keep an eye,
While their newborns race by
With a speed that is simply amazing.
Start to fill me with dread,
For I know that soon it will storm.
I cannot complain,
In fact, I love rain
As long as I’m in where it’s warm.
As my feet stir the dust
I know that I must
Leave my childhood memories behind.
Still, it’s a comfort to know
That wherever I go,
They will always be there in my mind.
40, Lullaby © Jenny Joseph
Only when we are in each other’s arms
Babies or lovers or the very ill
Are we content not to reach over the side;
To lie still.
To stay in the time we’ve settled in, that we’ve scooped
Like a gourd of its meat,
And not, like a sampling fly, as soon as landed
Start to our feet,
Pulling one box on another, Ossa on Pelion;
Getting the moment, only to strain away
And look each day for what each next day brings us:
Yet another day;
Pleased with the infant’s health and the strength of its frame
For the child it will grow to,
The house perfected, ready and swept, for the new
Abode we go to,
The town in order and settled down for the night
The sooner for the next day to be over,
The affair pushed straight away to its limit, to leave and notch up
Lie still, then, babies or lovers or the frail old who
In dreams we carry
Seeking a place of rest beyond the crowds
That claim and harry.
We are trying to reach that island for the festive evening
Where our love will stay—
Waylaid, prevented, we wake as that vivid country
Mists into day.
Stay on this side of the hill.
Sleep in my arms a bit longer.
This driving on will take you over the top
Beyond recall the sooner.
41, Old Age © Brian A. Bendall
Arthritis makes my fingers swell.
My bathroom visits really smell.
When I find it hard to sleep,
I remember math, to count my sheep.
My legs aren’t working like they did,
Like when I was just a kid.
It takes time to climb the stairs,
To change my dirty underwears.
And in the cellar, it’s not clear,
“Why did I just adventure here?”
Retrace my steps and I will find,
I still don’t know… so back I climb.
Friends now treat me differently.
They’ll talk to me like I am three.
And kinfolk give a hug and say,
“Baby, do you feel okay?”
In diapers I am now attired.
I’ll never know when they’re required.
So, best I wear them all the time,
They’ll save me from my inner grime!
And just in case that some don’t know,
You wear them underneath your clothes.
I tried it once the other way!
The laughter, I still hear today!
Grocery shopping is a treat,
If I can just stay on my feet.
Just get it done! Get home fast,
And hope my tired legs will last!
I get back home and rest my legs,
But I forgot to buy some eggs!
“To hell with it! I’ll do without!
I’m not about to go back out!”
Sometimes a pain I’ve never had,
The kind that’s there, but not that bad.
It could be serious, I suspect,
So, to the doctor! Get it checked!
He’ll poke and prod in all my holes.
He’ll close examine warts and moles.
He’ll press my gut when I’m undressed.
He’ll listen to my heart and chest!
When that’s done, he’s bound to find,
Some “specialists” he has in mind.
He’ll send me “here”, he’ll send me “there”,
He’ll send me everywhere, I swear!
They’ll take some blood and take some pee,
They’ll analyze the lot and see,
“There’s nothing wrong, now you can go.”
I start to feel… they just don’t know.
I get back home from my ordeal,
And now it’s hunger that I feel.
What do I want? What is my treat?
It should be something soft to eat.
So, after checking my caboodle,
I pick a tin of chicken noodle.
Some soda crackers on the side,
My dinner now has been supplied.
(Hey! Don’t forget to turn the stove off!)
Now full from all that soup fillet,
I check the mail that came today.
I’m scared when I see any bill!
So scared, I have to take a pill!
Gee! My old age check was sent!
“Wow! I’ll make the mortgage rent!”
Now I have been thrown a bone,
So I can keep my cherished home.
I try to sleep while counting sheep,
But other thoughts begin to creep.
“Am I too old to be alone?
I want keep this home I own!”
Kinfolk have their resolution!
A nursing home is their solution!
“They’ll care and feed you every day!
They’ll have a room where you can stay!”
I know they love me, there’s no doubt,
But my problems, they can do without.
A burden, I don’t want to be,
Can’t they see what “home” means to me?
I can’t give up this house of mine!
I’m by myself, that suits me fine!
And when I’m left alone that day,
I’ll think of what they had to say.
But I want to live my life my way!
I don’t want another home to stay!
And if no other resolution,
I will find my own solution…
42, Lunch © Lotte Kramer
She came in muttering to herself.
Old age had not destroyed
Her height and bearing.
“You walked across? Such a rough day.”
The waitress in her chat
Showed slight concern.
“Roast beef today and apple-tart.”
The plastic turban gone
Her face was naked:
The twist and movement more revealed,
Her bones, a brittle grate, with
Beauty burnt away.
Are these the only words each day,
The only other hands
Holding a plate?
And as the radio crackled jazz
her unheard, gutted mouth
Was never still.
43, Reflecting On Life © Ji.Kan
Growing up is tough,
Growing up is hard.
Do you remember taking off your diaper in the front yard?
To boys and girls alike.
Do you remember the first time you rode a trike?
Lying in bed
Trying to count sheep.
Remember, Santa knows when you are asleep!
During that time,
When everything sounded cool,
Remember when you played sick to skip school?
Growing up is difficult.
There’s no need to rush.
Do you still remember your first crush?
High school is full of great things”
Making friends, grades, and going to celebrations.
It’s all good memories after your high school graduation.
College is tough,
But you made it through.
Even making it out with the degree you’re all about.
Time to go to work.
Even if you’re the boss of the company,
Remember, at one time, you were once an employee.
Now growing even older feels tough.
More often than not, you still feel a bit rough
From working so hard, but with determination
You guaranteed your name through a new generation.
And they shall carry on your legacy,
As you have taught them: “Hard work will move you forward in this society.”
The children have grown,
And you watch the grandchildren,
Letting them know, “That’s enough television.”
Console them as they cry
And teach them something new.
Even in old age, the teacher is still you.
Looking at the family you helped create,
You can’t help but feel a little great.
The children hold your hand,
And you smile hard,
Because somehow, you remembered taking off your diaper in the front yard.
44, Lieselott Among the Blackberries © Gerda Mayer
Caught on September’s
her hands reach out
for the sweet dark fruit;
the blackberry spell.
“Hurry up, Lieselott,
it is late.” (Plenty
of time! She
feigns deaf and dawdles.)
Old woman tasting
the last of the fruit,
in sunny oblivion,
in a still brightness.
45, Growing Old © Pamela J. Langdon
They said I was an “old fart”
But I hardly think that’s true
My boobs were done in ’75
But my teeth and knees are new.
And since my eyes were lasered
I have 20/20 sight
Though I like to sit on 50 k
And hate to drive at night.
All in all I object to “old”
But “fart” is another matter
For I think the valves that seal the gas
Now leak as I’ve got fatter.
To add to the indignity
And make me feel antique
Sometimes when I sneeze or cough
I spring a little leak.
So if you’re feeling young and smug
With a body like brand new
Just remember in 30 years
This figure may be you!
46, Not for Me a Youngman’s Death © Roger McGough
Not for me a youngman’s death
Not a car crash, whiplash
John Doe, DOA at A&E kind of death.
Not a gun in hand, in a far off land
IED at the roadside death
Not a slow-fade, razor blade
bloodbath in the bath, death.
Jump under a train, Kurt Cobain
bullet in the brain, death
Not a horse-riding paragliding
mountain climbing fall, death.
Motorcycle into an old stone wall
you know the kind of death, death
My nights are rarely unruly. My days
of allnight parties are over, well and truly.
No mistresses no red sports cars
no shady deals no gangland bars
no drugs no fags no rock’n’roll
Time alone has taken its toll
Not for me a youngman’s death
Not a domestic brawl, blood in the hall
knife in the chest, death.
Not a drunken binge, dirty syringe
“What a waste of a life” death.
47, Forgotten Mother © Suhaills Rodriguez
She sits in darkness
memories serve as her only company
a life so full of joy
now ending in lonesome misery.
What once was a devoted wife
and a loving mother
is now nothing more than a burden
to those she loves the most.
A glimpse of a grandchild here and there,
a greeting card once a year.
This is what is left of her loving family,
of her joyous youth.
A beautiful, radiant sight was she,
now they hang her heads when in her company.
And so she sits in solitude
a single tear rolls down her cheek
as darkness surrounds her
so do the fond memories of her family.
48, Random Ageist Verses © Peter Porter
Here is the body fearfully beautiful
The pushy you of just nineteen—
How could you know, in shin or skull,
What’s dead already in the sheen?
Immersed in time, we question time
And ask for commentators’ rights.
The amoeba has a taste for slime
Among its range of appetites.
It’s always too early to die—Oh, yuss!
Says Churchill, dew-lapped TV hound
To The Man on the Clapham Omnibus—
The ice-cap’s melting; seek high ground!
The relief of growing old—it’s easy
To take long views and shun the short.
Consult the frescoes in Assisi:
Ignore the Kinsey and the Hite Report.
Like Auden, I have always felt
The youngest person in the room.
His too too solid flesh might melt
And show him God. I’ll need a tomb.
“Senex Scintillans”—we’re bright
As glazing on a Peking Duck.
The Elderly insist Insight
Is not worth much compared to Luck.
Hers is a most convincing face,
“Col tempo” lightly in her hand—
Age lived-through need show no trace
Of lines time likes to draw in sand.
Who is this young architect
At work on death’s blank inventory,
Correcting everything correct?
It is Thomas Hardy, OM, he!
“Gone is all my strength and guile,
Old and powerless am I.”
So, Joseph Haydn—all the while
Comes “Laus Deo” in reply.
The greyness of the sky is streaked
Along its width with shades of red;
The pity of the world has leaked
But who are these whose hands have bled?
49, Back In The Day © Joyce Goodman
Back in the day, when my body was fit,
I ate what I liked and gained not a bit.
After a while, the pounds slowly grew,
But I lost them fast; it was easy to do.
I didn’t worry, I didn’t care.
I didn’t need diets back in the day.
Back in the day, my summers were great.
Nothing to fear in the park.
The thing that I feared was Mom’s warning to me.
“You better be home before dark.”
Back in the day, my eyesight was good.
I never wore glasses; I saw like I should.
Now print seems so tiny and signs are unclear.
My vision is hopeless unless things are near.
I’m sorry to add that my memory is poor; it’s starting to scare me – no lie!
I go into a room for a reason I’m sure; then I am wondering why.
Back in the day, I felt safe and secure.
No shooters to scare us in school.
Now it is frightening; there’s no place to hide.
And the problem is going to spread wide.
Back in the day, I had strength to spare.
No pains in my body, no aches anywhere.
I never rested from day until night.
Now I need naps to help me feel right.
My walking is slow, and my back is in pain.
It’s hard to look cool when you walk with a cane.
I can’t believe I’m not young anymore.
I am feeling the passage of time.
So I looked for an answer for what I should do,
And here is the answer that’s mine.
If you want to stay young and keep up with the times,
Try new things you might like to do.
No need to hurry. Who cares if you’re slow?
Just keep your mind open and the ideas will flow.
Now when I think of “back in the day,”
I don’t want to go back anymore.
I keep myself busy doing things that I like,
And I’m finding my happiness grow.
50, The Password © Anne Stevenson
Memory, intimate camera, inward eye,
Open your store, unlock your silicon
And let my name’s lost surfaces file by.
What password shall I type to turn you on?
Is this the girl who bicycled to school
A cello balanced on her handlebars?
Shy, but agog for love, she played the fool
And hid her poems in the dark of drawers.
First love of music bred a love of art,
Then art a love of actors and their plays,
Then actors love of acting out a part,
Until she’d try on anything for praise.
Siphoned to England, she embraced her dream,
With Mr Darcy camped in Hammersmith,
Bathed in a kitchen tub behind a screen,
Pretending love was true and life a myth.
Waking with a baby on her hip,
Yeats in her shopping basket, here she is,
Thin as a blade and angry as a whip,
Weighing her gift against her selfishness.
Three husbands later, here she is again,
Opposed to her own defiance, breaking rules.
Not mad, not micro-waved American,
She trips on sense, and falls between two stools,
Finding herself at sixty on the floor,
With childhood’s sober, under-table view
Of how in time love matters more and more.
Given a creeping deadline, what to do?
Look at the way her wild pretensions end.
One word, its vast forgiving coverage,
Validates all her efforts to defend
Every excuse she makes, and warms with age.
51, Just Another Year © John P. Read
The years are taking their toll.
Another birthday has now arrived.
People you meet say you’re still looking young.
With a smile, you wink and say, “Nice try.”
You have a few more aches and pains.
In fact, a different one each day.
Your eyesight’s none too clever,
And your hearing has started to fade.
Your memory has gone on vacation,
Although you no longer travel too far.
You try to avoid meeting old friends
Because nowadays you forget who they are.
Wrinkles are appearing like magic.
Your hair is silver and grey.
When you wake, you praise the Lord
Just to have survived for another day.
Yes, birthdays used to be special.
When you’re old, they’re not as much fun.
You no longer want to rejoice and party.
Your mind’s still willing, but your body has gone.
52, Silence © Anthony Thwaite
This silence, with you away —
These silences, day after day —
Silence itself, pure and cold and grey —
Once I welcomed it, heard
Nothing but peace, even a bird
Disturbing it. Without a word
Silence welcomed me, took
Me in friendliness, shook
Melancholy out, thrust a book
Into my hands, so that I read
Hungrily of what lay ahead
Not thinking of the dead.
Silence lies along the bone,
Grey, cold as a stone.
53, To Heck With Tech © Alora M. Knight
A little old lady, I do not mind being.
What I find I don’t like are the changes I’m seeing.
My marbles are still rolling in the right direction.
I enjoy this old world, though it has imperfections.
I promise to stop driving if I start losing control,
But I still think that someone moved our telephone pole.
Now listen, my friends, you don’t have to shout.
That won’t help me know what you’re talking about.
The words that you say have a new meaning now.
I admit that I find they confuse me, somehow.
Websites were something we swished with the broom.
We wouldn’t have endured a mouse in the room.
You can take all your I-Pods and fancy cell phones.
Who wants to listen to all those ring tones?
A disc that was flopping would have created a fuss.
Mega-bytes and hard drives really sound ominous.
There’s one thing I do know; I don’t want to see
My world being reduced to a mere five-by-three.
I know that high-tech can do things that are fine.
Still, when getting touch, don’t call me online.
54, An Old Man’s Winter Night © Robert Frost
All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him — at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; — and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man — one man — can’t keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It’s thus he does it of a winter night.
55, Loneliness © Kelina E. Mortimore
I remember when I could hold your hand in the palm of mine.
When I held you, you would hold my hair in the palm of your hand.
When you would sleep you would make sure you had a part of me.
When you would smile I would cry.
It was a joy that would never fade.
I want you to know.
Mommy will never forget how much I love you.
Mommy’s little angels, please don’t forget me.
56, Young And Old © Charles Kingsley
When all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away!
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.
When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among;
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.
57, Gift Of Life © Tami Harmel
No one knows the gift of life
until it’s seen in another’s eyes.
What’s he thinking I ask myself,
from this disease that he was dealt
He meets me at the door each day
with a great big smile upon his face.
The boss is in there he say’s to me
and leads the way for me to see.
After breakfast our day starts
with his favorite thing, doing art.
With brush in handle swirls and spins,
up, down and back again.
One line here a circle there, different
Oh, that’s beautiful he says to me,
can we hang it with the others
for all to see
Everything happens for a reason, they say
and maybe for him it was meant that way
All the riches all the gold,
could not compare what this man holds.
So what’s he thinking, I ask myself
from this disease that he was dealt.
Just remember no one knows,
what today may bring or tomorrow holds
No, we don’t know that gift of life
until we’ve looked in that man’s eyes
58, She May Not Remember Tomorrow © Kate E. Cartwright
He helps her get up,
Get ready for a day
That she may not remember tomorrow.
Once a year,
I walk in the door,
Give her a hug
That she may not remember tomorrow.
She goes outside,
Picks berries on the farm,
Feels like a hard worker
That she may not remember tomorrow.
The neighbors come over,
Trish and Tilly.
Feels like Grandma
That she may not remember tomorrow.
She goes to Terry’s
For a home cooked dinner,
Has laughs and entertainment
That she may not remember tomorrow.
Being against a harmful disease.
I thank the Lord for
All of the time that I have with her, knowing
She may not remember me tomorrow
59, A Lament Of The Aging © Richard Kalfus
I am old,
So I’ve been told
By magazines and TV commercials
Portraying perfect complexions,
Perfect hair, no bald men there.
Perfect sculpted bodies,
Ready to jog
To save the world
In an Alzheimer’s benefit run.
Am I envious?
You bet I am!
I was naked
So many years ago
Standing before the army doctor
Who wrote, without a word:
“The 19-year-old is fit to serve.”
A quick glance in the mirror now
The wrinkled, blotchy face,
Breasts I never had,
The bald head of Mr. Clean,
Alas, without the muscles
Of television fame.
I look around
At the men and woman of my age
In the community pool
And am comforted
In a grotesque way
That I am one of many;
I am not alone.
60, What Is Pain? © Kathleen B. Hagen
Pain is watching yourself fade into a helpless person.
Pain is not being able to do what you did yesterday.
Pain is not remembering what you did and why or where you bought things.
Pain is not being able to see the flowers or the children on the other side of the room.
Pain is not remembering your children’s birthdays.
Pain is not remembering your grandchildren’s birthdays.
Pain is knowing tomorrow will be worse.
Pain is knowing it will never get better.
Pain is waiting for the end of all the pain.
Pain is not being able to do things on your own.
Pain is not being able to walk as far as you want.
Small pain is the pain you feel in your legs, back and arms.
Relief is when you won’t care anymore.
I pray for my relief!
To my family and friends, please think of this.
At the time that this disease takes over, remember this please.
My pain will be gone finally!
61, Last Season Of My Life © Danny Blackburn
My life has been great for many years
Because of your love, I have few fears
As we grow older and the days rush by
If God took you from me I would not cry
I would not cry, well I know that’s a lie
I would cry and cry and I would want to die
Danny without Pammy is not where I would want to live
Because I would fall asleep and then awaken with all my love to you to give
Into my life you bring more joy than you could ever know
And through this life without you I would not want to go
You have given me more reasons to live than I thought there could be
To loose you now or ever and to live without you I just can’t see
To my life you bring your beautiful smile
Which I can only live without for a very little while
When the season is summer and the mornings are bright
I love to watch you awaken as it becomes daylight
In the autumn as the leaves begin to change colors
I want to hold your hand and walk where there are no others
In the winter with snow on the ground and so white
I want to cuddle in bed, just you, me, and the moonlight
When the spring has come, the days grow longer and the flowers are in bloom
I want to walk with you in the night admiring your beauty in the light of the moon
When all the moons of my life have came and went
All my time with you was time most precious and well spent
When my days are near their end and I am in the last season of my life
Please know as I leave this world the best blessing that I have had was your love, the love of my beautiful wife
62, The Lifetime Of A Table © Marie Tully
the table was fun
where once games were played
with children who carried smiles
the sun shining upon the different grains
while wood would come alive
many a tear was shed by each one
many a laughter was heard
plenty of books were opened and closed
stories foretold to be heard
but as time went on the table grew empty
a shadow now sits on the grain
no more the laughter the fun and the games
nothing now, not even names
63, Oh Lord, How I Love Thee © Alora M. Knight
I am a tired old soul, my Lord,
My eyes can barely see.
I cannot read Thy blessed book,
Nor can I hear what prayers are said,
Or even kneel beside my bed.
Yet, oh Lord, how I love Thee.
I still remember times, oh Lord,
When life was strong within me.
I did not always heed Thy will,
Or listen for Thy voice to speak
To tell me what road I should seek.
Still, Lord, I always loved Thee.
Because Thee never turned away
Though now and then I foolishly
Ignored Thy rules and broke Thy laws.
Thee helped me through the darkest night.
Thee gave me strength to do things right,
And, oh Lord, how I’ve loved Thee.
I’ve been here for so many years.
There can’t be much time left for me.
I’m weary, but I’m not afraid.
I am a sinner saved by grace.
Soon I will see Thy loving face.
Then I can say how much I love Thee.
64, On Your Shoulders © Magnus I. Rasmussen
I remember the times
You’d flip me onto your shoulder
I felt like a giant
At that great height
And felt no fear
Just sheer delight
Safe in your hands
So sure and strong
Now they’re gone
It feels all wrong
No more do I fly
And reach the stars
No more do I soar
That path of ours
Up and beyond
Your own great length
Above your heart
Upon your strength
Where always you kept
Me and us all
Where you could watch us
That we’d never fall
And always you’d work
Day after day
To give us a life
We’d love each day
And though you’d grump
And gripe and groan
You’d flash a smile
At coming home
Where we would sit
And eat home food
Sing to songs
That sang of blues
Like stories you’d tell
Of your young days
And how the world
Has changed its ways
Of your own dad
The happy times
That you two had
I’d smile and think
Of you and I
And him and you
And ache to cry
For as I knew
You’d lost your own
I knew that you’d
Leave me alone
I could only hope
And wish and pray
That each day
Would not be that day
So each night that
We’d sit and talk
I’d try to capture
And every smile
In my mind
Now I replay
Your greatest hits
From our hours together
Our best bits
These are the memories
I now love
In my heart as your picture
In my glove
And swear that until
The day I go too
I’ll never forget
And I’ll always love you.
65, We’ll Take Fall Together © Gary Davis
Shall we take Fall together,
go sifting through the fallen leaves
and gaze upon the golden hues,
while waiting for the freeze?
We walk a little slower now,
our warm days have all but gone,
we will have to bundle up,
now that Fall has come.
Shall we take Fall together
and talk of Summers past?
Our cold season seems to have begun.
unsaid we know it can’t last.
When we go back I’ll make a fire
against this evening chill.
I’ll watch the light dance on your skin
recalling the passions of back when…
and marvel at how you stir me still.
66, Will I Lose Myself? © Pat A. Fleming
Will I slowly wither like a leaf
That falls upon the earth?
Once void of all its Autumn hues,
It loses all its worth.
Will my strength and vigor for this life
Just one day start to wane?
Will all these lines and wrinkles guise
My once familiar face?
Will I feel no longer needed
By my family and my friends?
Will that thrill of feeling deep in love,
In time come to an end?
Will I lose my sense of purpose,
My reason for each day?
Will my mind grow dull and cluttered
Till I somehow lose my way?
Will I outlive all my loved ones
And find myself alone?
Will I lose my independence,
My possessions and my home?
Will all my fondest memories
Escape my aging grasp?
And will I drift so far away
I never make it back?
Will I be that old forgotten soul
That no one comes to see?
Kept in the hands of strangers,
A shell of who I used to be.
I pray I’m spared such cruelty,
For if I am to live.
I don’t want to be a burden
When I still have much to give.
I want to treasure every moment,
Every love my heart embraced.
I need to know each pain I felt,
Each tragedy I faced.
So if someday I disappear
Before I leave this life,
I beg you to reach out to me
And hold on with all your might.
For despite how far away I go,
I need the world to care.
For somewhere in that bewilderment,
I still linger there.
67, Sometimes © Carol F. Santoro
Sometimes I sit and think
Sometimes I remember
Warm and Soft
Strawberries and Ice Cream
Peter Pence Day
Sitting on a bench, eating bread and cheese
The smell of Taboo
Sometimes I sit and think
Sometimes I Hear
The closing of a screen door behind me
Church bells on a Sunday morning
The first time my babies cried
Grandma calling my name
Sometimes I sit and think
Sometimes I See
My mom, sitting on her hands like a frog
My dad, developing pictures he took
My brother playing first base
My sister, so eager to go with me
Sometimes I sit and think
Sometimes I Wish
I wish I could lay my head in Grandma’s
lap one more time
I wish they were still babies so I could
cuddle them and keep them from harm
I wish they still made screen doors like
they used to
I wish mom could still sit on her hands
like a frog
I wish dad still mixed the chemicals
I wish my brother played in the major leagues
I wish my sister lived across the street
68, Heaven Sent © Teresa J. Kendall
His shoulders are a little slumped now and his back a little bent.
But to me he looks like he was heaven sent.
His blue eyes may have glasses to see
and he may have to get up a lot at night to pee,
but for me he was heaven sent.
His dentures are clean and white, and his smile is so bright.
I feel lucky every night to kiss him and wish him a goodnight.
Yes, for me he was heaven sent and I am quite content.
69, Silent Day © David Herman
There is stillness in my mind, molecules no longer attract each other.
I peer inside, the words no longer come to me.
A void instead has taken shape
An emptiness of forlorn dread has filled the space that once was me.
I gaze, but do not see, a world of movement unmeaning to me now,
As if a fog had settled in and no wind to blow it clear,
I can’t remember if I thought, of what and who and where and why,
I open my eyes to another day, I open my eyes to another day, I open my eyes to another day.
70, Daddy I Remember © Tiffany Loftis
Daddy I remember, before you fell ill. The spark in your eyes, the laughter, the thrill.
Daddy, I long for that day, when that spark comes back. I wish, Daddy, God would cut you some slack.
Daddy I remember the way you would brag about your grand kids. I know Daddy, they miss all the things you guys did.
Daddy you have your ups and your downs, but for the most part, Daddy, you’re coming around.
Daddy I remember, some of the aggravating things you would do, but I realize now that was just you, being you.
I would give anything, Daddy, to have things the way they were before, but Daddy I’m just thankful to have you even one day more.
71, Meeting My New Grandma © Jackie
That lady I met in the nursing home,
she looked so much like Grandma.
I thought it was her for a while,
but then she turned around and wasn’t wearing a smile.
Mom pulled her over
and said she was Grandma.
How could this be?
My grandma would never ignore me.
She did look a lot like her,
and dress like her too.
But this is not the Grandma I once knew,
This is not Grandma, what mom said can’t be true.
This Grandma was talking and making no sense;
she had tears and her eyes seemed so sad.
This is some other girl’s Grandma, not mine.
My Grandma is healthy and happy and fine.
Mom was talking to the nurse
about a disease called Alzheimer’s,
that doesn’t have a cure,
and Grandma has it, the doctors are sure.
She does not recognize me,
she stumbles and she mumbles.
She’s forgot everything that she used to know.
She is a different person, a new Grandma Lo.
The new grandma looks just like the old,
but in her mind it is different.
She may not be the Grandma I love and know,
but she will always be my Grandma Lo.
72, He Sleeps A Lot © Edward J. Bricker
He Sleeps A Lot Again,
He sleeps in his chair.
This man who does not remember
that I sat there
forty years ago,
nestled by his side
when he came home at noon
for lunch and a nap.
He sleeps a lot, you know.
This man who has no clue
as to who I am,
although I do remind him of someone
he knew once somewhere in his past.
It’s nice though,
to be known as that nice man
who visits now and then,
as opposed to the son
who, even at his best,
was a disappointment and a burden.
He recalls memory clips…
from the war….
the war in which he learned
to talk to men clearly and be understood,
something I could never equal
when he used to know my name.
And the factory….
he still thinks he has meetings to attend
and projects to complete
where the big machines drone,
even if he can’t remember eating breakfast,
or the room in which he has lived
for the past year at the home.
He asks, again,
Who is that nice man
sitting in the livingroom?
to which my mother replies
yet a tenth or twentieth time,
that is Edward, our son….
he has come to visit.
He sleeps a lot,
this childless father of mine.
73, Dementia © Doris Bullard
Where did you come from,
you evil one?
I cannot remember
that tomorrow has come.
Why is my life such a haze?
I stare at the walls and long for happier days.
Friends and family gather ’round
to ensure that my feet are firm on the ground.
My room is so small, and there’s nothing outside,
just empty streets and nowhere to hide.
Dementia, you have caught me and pinned me down,
and I cannot remember why I frown.
My wife will be here soon and we’ll go for a walk,
why are there tears in my eyes?
My body is tired and I must rest my head.
I will lay down on my bed.
My dreams will come to me crystal clear,
happy and joyous, with nothing to fear.
Dementia, tomorrow you will wake me like an alarm,
causing such grief and mental harm.
Oh, go away you evil one.
Let me live and remember the sun.
74, Ode To The Mythical Mother © Mike Smith
Ode To The Mythical Mother Owed To The Giver Of Life
Take deep breaths she said to me.
Where the three worlds did merge,
Sky and the magic land across the sea.
Hand then in hand, heart still in heart.
Past then in past, now present immortality.
I walked with her and she with me.
Where the beach was all pebbled,
As the days where as endless with love
That woman, such simple serenity,
Not guile but wisdom, wisdom born,
Of sacred isle TB and poverty,
Take deep breaths, take deep breaths
That pearl of great value she freely gave to me.
“But foolishness is tied up in the heart of a boy”
So the man chose instead to pay for shallow breaths.
In middle age, with pleurisy cigarettes and alcohol
And now he remembers her in the breezy part of day.
And whispers Take deep breaths, take deep breaths.
Talking sweetly of simple things, like trees and bees
of breath in lungs and birds on singing wings.
Of peacefulness, of wisdom, and serenity.
Of the mythical mother, Owed to my mythical mother
Ode for the giver of life. Owed to the giver of life.
75, Invisibility © James T. Atkins
As a child, I recall, I used to think the coolest thing to be,
truly nothing could be more fun than invisibility.
I could sneak up on my sisters and scare them if I chose.
I could frolic through the park all day without a stitch of clothes.
I could listen to friend’s secrets, know everybody’s plans.
I’d know what lovers whispered when they were walking, holding hands.
I could catch wild birds and bunnies, steal honey from the bees.
I wished so very many times for invisibility.
As a man I knew, or thought I knew, amid strength and vim and such,
believe only in the things we see, most in what we can touch.
And the wind alone, on her orphic voyage, as she blows across the seas
knows the secret, which she holds close – invisibility.
Now I sit here on this bench all day and never get a glance.
My steps are slow, my hair is grey, near the end of life’s sweet dance.
No one hears the words I say, a gnarly face that no one sees.
It seems my childhood wish was granted – invisibility.
Point of view, I guess, where we’re standing at the time,
and the things we’re so damn sure of can turn right on a dime.
And those things we sometimes wish for may in another season be
Like what I granted late in life…invisibility.
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