So many takes on growing old: gifts, beauty and downsides. These are responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, October 11, Once Upon a Time When They Were Old. Welcome to Billy Antonio, here for the first time and thanks to Billy, Ginny Brannan, Renee Espiru, Iulia Gherghei , Colin Blundell, Gary W. Bowers, Kakahli Gosh, Lady Nimue, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Paul Brookes for so beautifully rising to the occasion and so generously sharing their work. Find some smiles here, a giggle or two, a sigh, a tear … and a load of talent and wisdom.
shriveled rose petal
the intricate veins
on mother’s hands
© 2017, Billy Antonio
BILLY ANTONIO is a poet, writer, and public school teacher. He is the author of the mini-chapbook In a Country with Two Seasons (a haiku collection) published by Poems-For-All. His short story, The Kite, has been broadcast on 4EB-FM, 98.1 in Brisbane, Australia. Some of his fiction and poetry have been published in Tincture Journal, Red River Review, Poetry Quarterly, Akitsu Quarterly, Anak Sastra, The Cicada’s Cry, Frameless Sky, The Mainichi, Scifaikuest, Star*Line, The Asahi Shimbun, Sonic Boom, among others. His poetry has won international recognition. He lives in the Philippines with his wife, Rowena, and his two daughters, Felicity and Asiel Sophie.
prisoner of my bad temper
in search of my light past
when I used to laugh my tears out
everything was a reason for laughter
jokes on everyone
I was the soul of the party
the champagne was sparkling into my eyes
now the joke is on me
I’ve suddenly realized that
laughter had abandon the ship
I enjoy only the sound of a quiet evening
Now it’s a time in my life when my engines
In fact I have energy just to watch others pass by
to watch leaves turning green
to really breathe the air and sense the fragrance of a fresh born flower
Now I run the movie of my life backwards
I’m stunt how always in a hurry I used to be
obsessed to be free, nobody to interfere in my way
Now when I am tired, and maybe smarter
for sure older
I stopped by the river side, stare at my reflection in the fluid mirror
And silently shared a tear
© 2017, Iulia Gherghei (Sky Under Construction)
wither so ever
the sun is an e-z bake oven
the years are the crepers of flesh
these witches cast spells from their coven
and incubate me in a creche
their eye of newt makes me a baby
dependent and feeble and blind
to crawl via walker and maybe
old age ain’t for sissies said bette
i grow old said prufrock by eliot
the challenge for us who are ready
to set jaw and fire-in-the-belly it
when entropy renders defective
when age compromises reliance
and culture says Old’s Ineffective
that when we all most need DEFIANCE
so HERE WE ARE, Jamie, STILL PUNCHING
still proving we have what it takes
and on through the gravel-strides crunching
concocting NEW Models and Makes.
© 2017, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay)
A Magical Dance
See the youth that resides within me
mirrored dark curls framing a woman’s
face who now breathes easier
not often the case when questions curled
like a hazy halo of smokey confusion
within my days and nights
watch me convey knowledge soul filled
now a sign of experiential vibrant color
a glowing gold not in the guise
of youth’s vanity
see my spirit soar within mirrored eyes
clear as mountain spring waters
seeing deep as ocean valleys
thunderous as waterfalls
filling crystal clear rivers running swift
choreographed with a magical dance
of a sprite or fairy or two
© 2017, Renee Espriu (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, AR, Haiku & Haiga)
#Desire for Endless Love#
Why so alluring this argil is !
Why so mysterious this forest is !
Clasping dusk in a swan’s wings
Groping the falling darkish with shedded coniferous leaves
In the twilight of life when each spirit waits for someone
Eyes brim with tears
Birds retire to their nests flying over the blue ocean
Defraying moistures in their slender feathers
Flute of a shepherd boy sway my old heart
The night comes through stairs of mist
Through my watery old eyes
Agony switches apiece
But today in this watery moonlit night someone is at my door
Someone has reposed his eyes in my old eyes
In this assembly of life
O my unknown love
Please never renounce my crooked hands
Life crinkles body shrinks
But Love is endless – eternal
Please love me dear till
My last breath
Saying I’m pretty in your eyes
with my grey hair
Dry lips and vague vision
Kissing me upon my doom and cheeks
With Crisscross streaks …
© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh
..my world of leaves..
is this the final drop, slowly. not the white
wind blown kind that raises spirits. this
is due to a colder day, early morning five
maybe this or a lack of adrenaline caused
it, the coming together of years which
shadows of birds. dust motes in air.
is this the final drop?
© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)
it’s been such an easy life
on the outside (he says) counting the hours
that have fled all too quickly
a ripple in time
way beyond into the future
I’ve been awaiting something (he says)
for which I had to sit
in a comfortable anteroom
listening to the sounds of music
and laughter from inside the great hall
on the inside (he says) I’m still wondering
what I’m going to be when I grow up –
how I will frequent the literary pubs
& sit writing poetry at beer-stained tables
being a constant mystery
to the anxious youth at an adjacent table –
myself when young
I stride through all the Magic Cities;
I conduct my own symphonies of sound
and enter the soul of these two new cats
© 2017, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)
The Older Me
The older me knows my worth,
The value of my ideas and words,
She tells the stories with pride
That the younger me wants to hide;
The older me knows what’s lost
Was perhaps meant only as thoughts
But the more it lingered in the heart,
The younger me cried when time came to part.
The older me can not read this post
But she listens well and sings a lot
She dances on the whims of her own
Something that young me could not.
The older me is no more beautiful
Or any less than who I am right now
But she has a heart younger,mind pure
Than I can ever aspire to hold.
© Lady Nimue (Prats Corner: Pages of my mind: collecting words, experiences and memories …)
Who will I be when I grow old…
will I sit and babble nonsense rhyme
old poems and remnants left behind—
when those final years take hold.
Will past and present merge as one,
as mind relinquishes control;
or stay alert, my thoughts left whole
while body starts to come undone.
No gypsy fortune-tellers, we—
what lies before us, undefined
should favor nod as we decline
perhaps we’ll keep our sanity
Yes, all things acquiesce to time…
we only hope the years are kind.
© 2017, Ginny Brannan
He comes to visit each day,
reminding us as he enters that he’ll
be taking her home as soon as she’s
better, as soon as she’s stronger;
his dear sweet wife.
He lives for this woman, now mute
regressed in her memory–
holding tightly to a baby doll
perhaps for comfort, or perhaps
lost in vision of childhood
He gently wheels her through the halls
as though on some grand tour–
then he sits on the sofa in the hall
and lovingly clasps her pale parchment hand.
Talking softly, he asks
“Do you know what day today is?
It’s New Years eve day”
……”Can you hear me?”
……“Do you know who I am?”
and I wonder…
When I am old and lost in my thoughts
will someone come to see me each day,
gently take me by the hand–
and quietly remind me who I am?
© 2017, Ginny Brannan
coddled in wool blanket drifts
Sun sears baby eyes through bright windows,
hospital paths cleared tall walls
of snow either side. I howled
a gust down shop aisles, on street
to the dentists. Crowds frowned.
Summer bike rides in country lanes
Spring divorced winter.
Summer was another dialect. Coarser,
to play was to laik, sweets were spice.
Wide games in a silver wood, ventured
into cold huts. Fun with sausages and custard.
Hull hunkered in Christian winter, relieved by Summer gamelan and hope for a vocation
to last manual work and taking the pillock.
It didn’t. Winter of closing pits.
Bristol summered in performance
Classes on interview technique, teach
Teenagers how to think into a job.
beyond unemployment benefit office screens
Spout words over dripped lager louts,
Back in summered day buzz of words clapped,
then winter cancered into debt
and prodigal return. No fatted calf
only steroid fatted bald mam and chores
in garden until I met my future wife
for a bet in breaks between admin.
Summered teach adults write and history.
A winter that lasted twelve years headset
yoked ears bent to abuse from wronged
Customers and peddled official lines.
Summer came with an unwanted death,
A years enjoyment of travel and delight.
Summer comes in to autumn with cash gone.
Life a priority. Bills must be paid. Work
only part time, buzz when I help customers.
© 2017, Paul Brookes
You know you’re human when
you put your leg in the wrong
way in your boxer shorts.
you pick up your wife’s toothbrush,
not yours and use her toothpaste,
not yours, oblivious to both.
when it’s hot you put on too much
clothing, when it’s cold, too little.
wear underpants with holes
in the crutch through wear not design.
laugh at books and signs full
of epigrammatic phrases about
growing old, living with someone,
the habits of cats and dogs.
© 2017, Paul Brookes
ABOUT THE POET BY DAY