Salvador Dali 1940
Having posted on the physical effects of getting older in the previous post, I now have a more positive tale to tell.
At the last poetry group meeting the subject just happened to be ‘old age’, a subject which has exercised poets through the ages; some have bewailed old age, others found it frightening, yet there are those for whom old age has many positive sides.
At these meetings we not only read poems that deal with the subject, which is set in advance, we also discuss the poems and the poets who wrote them and to finish off there is usually a general discussion of our own perception of the subject matter, both anecdotal and as a result of research. The members of the poetry group are mostly of retirement age; several are well into their seventies. Old age is a matter of personal experience for most, not something which will happen in the distant future; it has either happened already or is not that far off.
I was delighted to hear one elderly lady say :” You know, I am glad of my age. I feel I have gained a perspective on history simply by living through it. I am enjoying these years of reflection very much.”
I know that this lady is a widow, whose children live some distance away and have busy lives of their own; this happens to be the case for so many older women. She suffers from ME and has to have several periods of rest during the day, which she uses to study and read. I know that she is about to enrol in a correspondence course on science having recently finished a course on prehistoric man.
As so many of you, who commented on the previous post, said : "One door closes and another door opens".
One of the poems I read at the meeting was by Elaine Feinstein, one of my favourite poets.:
The first surprise, I like it.
Whatever happens now, some things
that used to terrify have not:
I didn't die young, for instance. Or lose
my only love. My three children
never had to run away from anyone.
Don't tell me this gratitude is complacent.
We all approach the edge of the same blackness
which for me is silent.
Knowing as much sharpens
my delight in January freesia,
hot coffee, winter sunlight. So we say
as we lie close on some gentle occasion:
every day won from such
darkness is a celebration.
So, Goodbye Tension, Hallo Pension!