Once Upon a Time When They Were Old, a poem …. and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

Have you noticed I’m beautiful now,
beautiful in ways I never was in untried youth.
On fire now with the violet fire of soul speak,
treading weightlessly with a brighter spirit.

Clear crystal flashes through my being, a
shooting star in a cobalt sky, a heart swept
of fool’s gold, of the heavy and the gross.

I dance in a whisper of indigo dreams,
like a sparrow feather swirling through
Eternity, a sorceress spelling joy with Light.

Have you noticed I’m beautiful now,
beautiful in the way of all young women in
that once-upon-a-time when they were old.

“I have been searching
 Old Woman
and I find her 
my Self…”
Daughters of Copper Woman, Ann Cameron

©  2017, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photograph courtesy of Andreas Bohnenstengel under CC BY-SA 3.0 de


Create portrait of your own inner Old Wo/Man. If you feel comfortable doing so, leave your piece or a link to it in the comments section below. Work on theme shared here will be posted next Tuesday for the pleasure of others. All are welcome to come out and play no matter the status of your writing career – beginner, emerging or pro.  This is about sharing and getting to know more poets and writers. You have until Monday evening, October 16, to respond.


This event (below) was streamed live last night from New York. If you missed it, the video is still up for viewing at PEN.org Livestream.

ABOUT: The Artists at Risk Connection launched yesterday in tandem with a public discussion in New York featuring one of the world’s most prominent threatened artists, Ai Weiwei. Ai, who was in conversation with author and PEN America President Andrew Solomon, was detained in China without charge for 81 days during 2011 and later denied his passport to travel.



23 Comments on “Once Upon a Time When They Were Old, a poem …. and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Old age

    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
    run slowly
    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

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jamie :your poem is so nice so heart touching :
    My first response :
    #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 …
    Kakali Das Ghosh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Second response.

    ..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

    slowly pass.

    shadows of birds. dust motes in air.

    marmalade toast.

    is this the final drop?


    Liked by 2 people

  4. 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


    Jamie: this is the first time I’ve written a poem
    specifically to your prompt! I’ve been reading
    Iris Murdoch’s ‘Henry and Cato’ and the prompt
    arrived just as I was reading a page on which
    the sad character Lucius, with whom I identify,
    is ruminating on the past! Something of him
    is in this poem.

    I’ve been painting ‘Magic Cities’ since 1977 half
    my life away. They’re on my website I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My quick short verse –

    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.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I work with the elderly, who inspire me daily and provide insight to what the future holds. I have two responses to share if I may, hoping appropriate for your prompt.
    First response:


    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.

    Second Response:

    Love Undying

    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
    long past.

    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?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well done, Billy. Will include in next Tuesday’s post. Since it’s your first with this project, perhaps you will send me a short bio and a photo (if you are comforable with that) to include next week. Thanks for joining in.


  7. Prompt response, Jamie . . .

    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
    refetusize curly-q-spined

    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

    still proving we have what it takes
    and on through the gravel-strides crunching
    concocting NEW Models and Makes.

    …and Brava and Kudos for the way YOU keep plugging and punching away, dear!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Jamie,

    My second response:

    Born Old

    Born Old

    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.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:

    Know Old

    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.

    Liked by 3 people

Thank you!

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