Poetry On Growing Old #1 🙂
Throughout my life I’ve written. I’ve published poems & verse, small stories, a cookbook, and am currently working on finishing a novel. Writing has always been, and probably will always be, my therapy. I found many of these poems on yahoo’s poetry pages, and have marked the authors, if they were listed. Hope you enjoy them! Happy Friday!!~
ABC’s of Aging
A is for arthritis,
B is for bad back,
C is for the chest pains. Corned Beef? Cardiac?
D is for dental decay and decline,
E is for eyesight–can’t read that top line.
F is for fissures and fluid retention
G is for gas (which I’d rather not mention–
and not to forget other gastrointestinal glitches)
H is high blood pressure
I is for itches, and lots of incisions
J is for joints, that now fail to flex
L is for libido–what happened to sex?
Wait! I forgot about K!
K is for my knees that crack all the time
(But forgive me, I get a few lapses in my
Memory from time to time)
N is for nerve (pinched) and neck (stiff) and neurosis
O is for osteo-for all the bones that crack
P is for prescriptions, that cost a small fortune
Q is for queasiness. Fatal or just the flu?
Give me another pill and I’ll be good as new!
R is for reflux–one meal turns into two
S is for sleepless nights,
counting fears on how to pay my medical bills!
T is for tinnitus–I hear bells in my ears
and the word ‘terminal’ also rings too near
U is for urinary and the difficulties that flow (or not)
V is for vertigo, as life spins by
W is worry, for pains yet unfound
X is for X ray–and what one might find
Y is for year (another one, I’m still alive).
Z is for zest
For surviving the symptoms my body’s deployed,
And keeping twenty-six doctors gainfully employed!
The Old Fools
What do they think has happened, the old fools,
To make them like this? Do they somehow suppose
It’s more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools,
And you keep on pissing yourself, and can’t remember
Who called this morning? Or that, if they only chose,
They could alter things back to when they danced all night,
Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September?
Or do they fancy there’s really been no change,
And they’ve always behaved as if they were crippled or tight,
Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming
Watching light move? If they don’t (and they can’t), it’s strange:
Why aren’t they screaming?
At death, you break up: the bits that were you
Start speeding away from each other for ever
With no one to see. It’s only oblivion, true:
We had it before, but then it was going to end,
And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour
To bring to bloom the million-petaled flower
Of being here. Next time you can’t pretend
There’ll be anything else. And these are the first signs:
Not knowing how, not hearing who, the power
Of choosing gone. Their looks show that they’re for it:
Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines –
How can they ignore it?
Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can’t quite name; each looms
Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning,
Setting down a lamp, smiling from a stair, extracting
A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only
The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning,
The blown bush at the window, or the sun’s
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give
An air of baffled absence, trying to be there
Yet being here. For the rooms grow farther, leaving
Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear
Of taken breath, and them crouching below
Extinction’s alp, the old fools, never perceiving
How near it is. This must be what keeps them quiet:
The peak that stays in view wherever we go
For them is rising ground. Can they never tell
What is dragging them back, and how it will end? Not at night?
Not when the strangers come? Never, throughout
The whole hideous, inverted childhood? Well,
We shall find out.
The above poem caused much upheaval in the industry. What are your thoughts on the imagery and symbolism? Do you like it?
One of my favorite parts, “bring to bloom the million-petaled flower” brings such a good perspective to life.
My forgetter’s getting better
But my rememberer is broke
To you that may seem funny
But, to me, that is no joke.
For when I’m ‘here’ I’m wondering
If I really should be ‘there’
And, when I try to think it through,
I haven’t got a prayer!
Often times I walk into a room,
Say “what am I here for?”
I wrack my brain, but all in vain
A zero, is my score. At times I put something away
Where it is safe, but, Gee!
The person it is safest from
Is, generally, me!
When shopping I may see someone,
Say “Hi” and have a chat,
Then, when the person walks away
I ask myself, “who was that?”
Yes, my forgetter’s getting better
While my rememberer is broke,
And it’s driving me plumb crazy
And that isn’t any joke.
What do you see nurse,
What do you see?
What are you thinking
When you look at me?
A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit
With far away eyes.
Who dribbles her food
And makes no reply;
Then you say in a loud voice,
“I do wish you’d try.”
Who seems not to notice
The things that you do,
And forever is losing
A stocking or shoe.
Unresisting or not,
Lets you do as you will;
With bathing or feeding,
The long day to fill.
Is that what you’re thinking,
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes nurse,
You’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am,
As I sit here so still,
As I move at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten …
With a father and mother,
And brothers and sisters
Who love one another.
A girl of sixteen,
With wings on her feet;
Dreaming that soon,
A lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at twenty …
My heart gives a leap;
Remembering the vows
That I promised to keep.
I have young of my own,
Who need me to build
A secure and happy home.
A woman of thirty,
My young now grow fast,
Bound together with ties
That forever should last.
At forty, my young ones
Have grown up and gone;
But my man is beside me
To see I don’t mourn.
At fifty, once more …
Babies play ’round my knees;
Again we know children,
My loved ones and me.
Dark days are upon me,
My husband is dead …
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread;
For my young are all rearing,
Young of their own,
And I think of the years
And the love I have known.
I am an old woman now,
Nature is cruel,
‘Tis her jest to make old age
Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone
Where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass,
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again
My battered heart swells.
I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living
Life over again.
I think of the years …
All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact
That nothing can last.
So open your eyes nurses,
Open and see …
Not a “Crabbit Old Woman,”
Look closer … see “Me.”
~ Phyllis McCormack ~
One of the hardest parts
of my growing old
is that, instead of telling,
I’m being toId:
what to wear;
what to eat;
where to go;
whom to meet.
seems to have got-up-and-went
for, though once erect,
I’m now slightly bent.
I read the paper,
the ‘Deaths’ and the rest;
will I survive
that pain in my chest?
What I need is a goal
for which to strive,
a goal that will help
to keep me alive;
will make me ignore
my shortness of breath,
and make me forget
my appointment with Death.
Maybe if I show him
I’m not ready yet,
he’ll pass by for the moment,
might even forget,
as he makes for the place
where they sharpen his scythe
while I make the most
of staying alive!
Shenton, written in 2006 while in a nursing home