No U-turns

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On the road today, we are traveling to meet old friends. This is our first vacation since Covid started. As we traveled North to Ohio, the mountains in West Virginia were gorgeous.  but when we crossed the Ohio River, the clouds were spectacular. At my age, getting together with old friends is so important. Better to do it now rather than waiting for a memorial service in the future.

Life moves on

Seasons keep changing

No U-turns

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, guest host Xenia Tran asked us to write a Haibun about a special September moment. Today was a gorgeous Fall Day to be traveling.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Only One Ticket to Ride

Like the Petals of a Rose (2)

Aging brings so much angst…

Knowing it would happen is no help

as the petals of life begin to fade.

I count… she loves me she loves me not

as our expectations rise and fall

like a Carrowinds coaster

with its ups and downs and loop-t-loops.

Knowing the ride is about over is no help.

Coasting into the exit I exhale

trying to maintain meaning and purpose

knowing I only get one ride.

As friends slowly exit ahead of me

I mourn their passing and grieve my losses.

Aging makes me question my existence,

my future, my truth, and my purpose.

Reality is harsh as challenges increase

Loneliness sets in as other coasters roll on by

filled with excitement and wonder.

I cheer them on with a sad heart…

Knowing they too will someday be here.

While the ride was exhilarating

it seems all too short.

Sadly, I only get one ticket to ride.

***

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Reflections on Turning 75

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A great day to be alive, celebrating with Cherry Cheesecake (Cherry Delight)

I turned 75 today and the world continues to change

Some things remain constant it seems

Like war and oppression, racism and hatred

While compassion, love, forgiveness and grace

are still alive and well among us.

I am a Baby Boomer from the late 40s

When I started school things were simple

Pencils and tablets, (paper not digital)

with a Dick and Jane reader and an outhouse out back

Cursive writing was done in pen and ink

Pens with a split point and inkwells to dip in

By the time I reached High School

the space race was on and so was Viet Nam

Trying to keep ahead of the Soviets

we forged ahead

Sputnik and a man in orbit

Ours was John Glenn in a Mercury Capsule

followed by Saturn V rockets and trips to the moon

Transistor radios and handheld calculators

By college it was Folk Music and Civil Rights

Simon and Garfunkle and Joan Baez

My first teaching classroom had slate chalkboards

and pipes in the stairwells wrapped with asbestos

Cassette tapes were on the way out and digital discs were in

Leaded gas was a no and Unleaded took its place

as front-wheel-drive cars became the rage

Heart transplants and bypass surgery saved many

as laser surgery become commonplace

Our first computer was a used Apple iii

with plastic floppy discs and a dot matrix printer

By the 90s it was a hard disc and a 386 computer

Soon we had laptops, cellphones, and flash drives

And satellites circle the earth

Digital Cameras made everyone a photographer

What a movie this life has been for the past

three quarters of a century and it’s not done yet!

*

Photo: Micah Roth

 

Coming to Terms with My Life

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These five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Acceptance turns to nostalgia

as I turn 75 tomorrow

Another year added to a long

interesting life

There is a sense of grief at this age

looking back and looking forward

Grief for the loss of what once was

realizing change is inevitable

Watching the next generation

moving on without you

Knowing someday, they too

will look back wishing

they had asked more questions

of the living

The future is a bit unsettling as

control may be forfeited

to someone else’s care

I pray that will not happen

I have wrestled with God

Argued with him threatened him

and been angry with him

At this point in life I have made

my peace with God and eternity

Some things are better left unknown

The subtle losses seem to hurt the most

There is anger at the changes that

occur in our physical bodies

The ringing in the ears, the loss of hearing

All that extra weight that comes on slowly

The medical field has no sensitivity

to body shaming, calling me obese

How is that any different than saying

you’re fat

Yet I am thankful I can still function

slower and with less energy but still going

Joints and muscles ache more at this age

but still remain relatively strong

My life’s work has been traded for

a more sedentary style of living

I look back and dream of what once was

Knowing memories are all we have

I listen to the old songs and relish

the pleasure of visions they hold

But joy comes in the grandchildren

so full of life and possibilities

I pray that they will find the strength

to face the realities of a changing world

and still show love and compassion

for those around them

It has been a long life and this, a long poem

So I think it is best to stop here.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Lisa asked us to consider the five stages of grief and choose one to write our poem. Since tomorrow is my 75th birthday I chose to write about acceptance. I have kicked and screamed, so to speak, throughout my life. I still grumble and complain about the changes taking place, but for the most part I feel like I have made my peace with my life and am in a place of acceptance. Letting go is very difficult, but in reality we never really have control in this life.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Changing Seasons

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Seasons of life collide with a season of war

Carnage rains down on young and old

The world weeps tears of anger and compassion

While those in Ukraine struggle to hold on

to their disrupted displaced lives

Snow falls as they hug their children

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Lisa asked us to write a Quadrille of 44 words about the seasons. As an older person, I think about both the changing seasons and my own season of life. War is a vortex of evil that can happen in any season, but for us who are older it only speeds our demise.

In our digital world we see the horrors of the war in Ukraine every day on our news broadcasts. One cannot help but put themselves in their place as we watch and wonder what we would do in their place.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Colander

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Memory is the colander of the mind

Sorting out the good times worth keeping.

Letting the negative ones slip through.

Years can wash away the residue

leaving only our warm moments…

faint remnants // yet clearly recalled

***

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Royal Splendor

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Though life took its toll and age unraveled before her
She held her head high crowned with royal splendor
Containing a sweetness outlasting the superficial
Beauty from within crowning life’s aging body
Where one could draw nectar from her soul
the honey of life

***

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, De Jackson asked us to write a Quadrille of exactly 44 words using any form of the word crowned. This is a zinnia head, from my flower garden, that has lost all its petals, yet continues to feed the bee that comes for nectar. An example for us all.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Looking into Time’s Mirror

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These old bones gaze on those old bones

filled with memories intertwined in each room.

Looking into a mirror of the past I wonder

if those old bones have memories…

of love and laughter in each room?

I open memory’s door to a dim view.

I see us all crowd around as we listen to

Mom reading stories enriching our minds;

instilling values and morals never forgotten.

This broken down pile of bones still stands…

Seventy-four years later it remembers my birth.

In the back bedroom, I came into the world…

A bouncing baby boy with a life of wonder ahead.

Now looking back, I see an old house;

A stack of bones, not unlike my own;

Still here // but for how long I do not know.

As I look into times mirror, I see what was…

A life full of joy and pain filled with memories.

Do houses remember that we have been there?

How much longer will I remember?

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Bjorn asked us to use conceit in our poem. Conceit in poetry uses metaphor and extends it by comparing and interwining two unlikely subjects in juxtaposition with each other. I took a trip down memory lane to the house where I was born. It is now old and run down, un-cared for and overgrown. These are some of my thoughts as I remember my visit there a couple of years ago.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

The Fear of Living…

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The Fear of Living

I don’t fear death; I fear living… too long! Some drop and are gone, others take longer to leave this world. Lingering is a fearful word in this old man’s vocabulary. Lingering often comes with losing control, as dementia sets in. Loss of memory, loss of driving privileges, loss of physical abilities to function without help all come with different levels of fear. And then there is pain. Chronic pain is very real to many, both young and old. It changes how we live and function.

I watched my father-in-law as he gradually developed Alzheimer’s disease. It was so hard to give up his keys to his car. But, not remembering where his car was parked, or how to navigate across the city of Edmonton, made driving too risky for him. When his wife developed a brain tumor, he had to move to a care facility, which involved more loss and now separation. It was extremely sad to see this happen. Even in the best of settings life was no longer memorable for him.

Fear of living on and on and out of control is my greatest fear. I try not to think about it or obsess over it, but it constantly shadows the recesses of my mind.

Living well for now

Aging brings new challenges

Life becomes fearful

*

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Frank Tassone asked us to think about our fears. This seems to be the season of the year when fright and fear are celebrated in some circles. Spooky ghosts and goblins are nothing compared to the real fear of living in pain or life out of control.

Thanks to my friend, David’s, post for stimulating these thoughts:

https://skepticskaddish.com/2021/10/26/silence-or-the-lambs/   

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Peddle Faster

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Peddle faster feel the wind

The finish line is now in sight

My race is on

But winning is not the goal

Just finishing well

Many slow down // stumble and fall

Barely dragging across the line

I never know what I might encounter

So, I give it all I’ve got, while I still can

The finish line is not far off

So I ride with gusto

Enjoy the thrill

Competition is not the goal

In this race of life

Anything can happen

Fading away is not my plan

It is all about finishing well

For the finish line is now in sight

But // I’ve still got a long way to go

But only time will tell

Photo: Dwight L. Roth