Today I walked through the cemetery of my childhood
of all life stories encapsulated there.
Friends and neighbors
inscribed on theses stones;
A card catalog
of stories one can no longer check out.
Ancestries long buried in dust
some lost in time;
Yet the stones live on
calling for recognition from the living.
Today, as I walked
I remembered friends and neighbors
who shaped my life
with their smiles…
I think to myself
“I’ve got friends in low places…”
I must be getting old!
Photos: Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse, Peter asked us to consider beginnings and endings in poetry. We are looking at how the lines flow and how endings are used to punctuate what we are trying to say. He gave us five things to choose from as we write our poems. I tried to incorporate some of these in my poem today.
how and where to end that line
endings as quotations like The Golden Shovel form – where one poem quotes another
endings and beginnings – verse forms that loop and repeat
Her gray hair that once flowed around her shoulders
Now pulled back tightly held with a stretch band;
There she sat in her wheelchair // her gaunt body fading
Wrapped in her shawl // holding her little doll on her lap.
As I read stories to the group of elderly residents
She sat with her head down // eyes closed as though asleep;
Yet somehow, I knew she is still listening to me.
I finished, and got out my twelve-string ovation guitar;
They enjoyed singing my old classics from the sixties…
A time when we all were young, and words sung told stories.
As I began to sing, “You are my sunshine…” her head began to move
Others joined in letting the song take them to another place and time.
Thought her body remained motionless, her feet now began to move;
Her soft pink slippers began a rhythmic pattern as she relived the days
When she danced, carefree to the music, with the one she loved.
Clutching her dolly, her eyes went from open to closed and open again
She rode the rhythms of each song in her mind, as feet danced
Pushing her wheelchair back to her unit she quietly said to me,
“I really enjoy that.”
It was then I knew I was making a difference!
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Anmol, at d’Verse, asked us to write a poem that uses description of a person that paints a picture of that person for the reader. I decided to write about one of the elderly persons who comes to hear my stories and songs at the local nursing home.
Aging rusts the soul
Life scattered like lights and doors
Falling leaves hide rust
Autumn Contemplation shows
Nature reclaims everything
Photo: Marc Andrew
Frank Tassone asked us to consider Autumn Contemplation, as we come to the end of this long hot summer. There are many ways autumn makes us stop and think about life. Nature, aging, and the combination of both remind me I am not invincible. When I was young, aging seemed far off, but now I am in the autumn of my life and realize in time I too will be like the car in the photo above. When gone, I will be remembered in bits and pieces, but soon, those too will fall by the wayside and the leaves of time will cover all. I decided to use this great photo again and write from a little different perspective. I am using it with permission from my nephew, Marc Andrew.
I thought since I turned another year older last week, perhaps it was a good time to remember what growing older entails. There are so many scenarios for growing old that it is too bad we can’t pick and choose our fate. But I guess we are stuck with the roll of the dice. The following are some of the ways old age is catching up with me.
Jokester Old Age moved in
Bringing Rock and Roll bands
Playing shrill heavy metal
Unending concerts in my ears
Or // maybe it’s seventeen-year locust
Emerging just below my gray loam
Springing forth in continual halleluiahs
Attaching themselves to brain stem and canals
In addition // miners of decay
Carve caverns in my bituminous teeth
Great profit for dental barons
Depleting my piggy bank
Old Age seems to have made himself
Right at home pulling painful pranks
Not minding the misery, he is causing
Laughing as I drain my account
You might think ignorance and self-confidence are a strange combination, but when it comes to life, they are sometimes the secret to success. When we are young and invincible, we are ready to try anything. As we get older we are less and less inclined. We are fortunate not to know what the future holds.
Ignorance and self-confidence
Take us places where
Rational thinking might slam the door.
Telling us it is too hard
…beyond our abilities.
Getting married // having a baby
Being a parent // growing old
All come without instructions.
Still // we step into the unknown
Thankfully ignorant of what the future holds
Knowing that somehow // we will make it
To the end //mistakes and all
My father-in-law always said he hoped he could live to be a hundred. He is now 89 and still in fairly good health. The only problem is that a couple of years ago he developed Alzheimer’s and is now confined to a care facility. As I think about him and others I find myself wondering whether growing old is really all that great. If you are one who is in good health perhaps it would be a good thing, but I believe the odds are stacked against that happening. I have always said I don’t want to live to be real old. This poem expresses some of my sentiments.
Living to be 94
If I live to be 94
What friend would come knocking at my door
Being that they’d all gone before
Or maybe they came and I remember no more
Since those memories seem to go right out the door