Photograph courtesy of Clément Falize, Unsplash

“It is best as one grows older to strip oneself of possessions, to shed oneself downward like a tree, to be almost wholly earth before one dies.” Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes



Here now Tuesday and the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Vintage Point, April 15, 2020.  That prompt asked poets to focus on maturity. What is the value-added as years go by?  Poets were not required to be “old” or “elderly” to respond to this prompt. After all, no matter the age today there are more years lived than ever before. The poems in this collection highlight the joys and drawbacks, the rewards and concerns of aging. They combine to offer us rich and diverse perspectives.

This poetry is gifted to us by Christine Bialczak (new to our pages and warmly welcome), Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Ben Naga, Gorata Mighty Ntshwabi aka Poko Boswa (also new to our pages and warmly welcome), Bozhidar Pangelov aka Bogpan, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone.

Enjoy! and …

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.


As I have aged…
As I have aged I have learned so many things…

I remember wondering how my nightgown made real sparks in the dark of a summer night.

I remember wondering how berries knew to grow on the same bushes every year.

I remember wondering how I would ever live without my parents, even if I got married.

I remember wondering how anyone could afford to buy a car.

I remember wondering how my mail could get to another country in a few days.

As I have aged I have learned to love things…

Being a mother

Being a giver, not a taker

Being a friend

Being kind

Being smart

Being happy

Being thankful.

As I have aged I have learned to hate things….

Losing loved ones

Lives ending

Sadness

Sickness

War

Aging is all about learning.

© 2020, Christine Bialczak

Christine’s site is Stine Writing


to be left aside, maturity has diminished , staring vacantly, not finding answers the mind’s inner recesses do not stir, lock down imposed since childhood , often a living grave, a way of life, for us women
growing up with fear, a ruck sack kidnapper, the servant who lives in the quarters.smiling sweetly the tenderer of flowers, for him young girls are flowers too, smacking jostling poking bus conductor shouting..’close close closer’, make space’ , maturity trespassed, what are we ? vulnerable so easily accessible?
in silence back to lock down, day by day, year by year, purpose focused we move on , books in arms, abaya or hijab is no barbed wire, a lock down better than a classroom?
avoid hugs of loving uncles? they feel so different love is painful, be brave be mature, we have come so far , road replete with panthers perils and playboys,
home sweet home, home safe home, but enter another form, eyeing elderly women , inspectors of beauty in their own sense defined
Ah Maturity why did you silently rise?
We have not run after butterflies yet not rolled on the lush green grass, nor sang the sweet songs of youthful joy ,nor jumped or skipped to the cool winds of Spring or early Summer?
Prepare now for the new lock down at another’s home sweet home
O Maturity you are taking us there
Can we think our own thoughts ?
A new life begins to grow , a new journey to maturity, we have forgotten our own
forgotten our needs
forgotten our shares
forgotten our dreams
We are mature now to see things as they are, to grasp the grandeur of language as we hear it from another
box, forgetting the crude utterances on the side
we have come a long way,but with no memories of the stay
world is still in conflict,hatred jealousy
wars votes,greed, restless for powerful command, maturity is unknown to poverty
but we have attempted to bear and do good, maturity is our responsibility
the world may not be …
O Maturity we have grown up with thee
Lead us now to love care and safety
the world old or new may be or may not be …

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Just Yesterday

Just Yesterday
It seems in memories
we read about the Great Flood

Just Yesterday
We heard stories
Of killing and the flowing blood,

Just yesterday
we suffered and tread
crossed borders for ‘The Divide’

Just yesterday
We played ‘touch the tree’
hopscotch marbles seek and hide

Just Yesterday
We drove around in
Chevrolet s Fiats with Jeeps beside

Just yesterday
we spent warm afternoons
lazing and building castles in the sand

Just yesterday
Ran for the ice lolly
at the ringing of the Cart man’s bell.

Just yesterday
some others’ ruled,
many people easily fooled

Today I look at photographs
reflecting memories
Of moments good and bad.

life is more of indoor stay
a screen and a couch, is all
the ground to play

distances wired, yet wireless
physical isolation, visual connection,
tourism occupies the planet.

maturity yet far away, language
in disarray, rights violated , freedom
curtailed states taken over, leaders jailed

relationships leave much to be desired
rich more rich, poor poorer despised
ignorance of dark ages amidst chaotic fuss

In comes Corona Virus
unseen, forcing a metamorphosis
humanity is halted, equally.

What now, happiness or sorrow
Who knows or may see tomorrow
I tear and pile up the photographs

All are distanced, washing hands
new law of lands, paperless life, cold
I gather my sheaves, all set- to be sold.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


Cinched

I cinch this belt
Yet not as much as I did
Yesterday
Another notch left unused
And soon there will be none left
To even give an illusion
Of an indentation

I cinch this belt
With hands rough and lined
No lotion softness
Just stories
In each scarred crevice
Lessons etched for
20-20 palm reading

I cinch this belt
This hard-won
Welterweight Champion of Maturity Belt
And walk proudly into the Ring of Life
To face my always opponent, Unknown.
The bell dings

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is I Do Run, And I do a few other things too …


.catching twigs..

it is good to move things about
to stitch and make things
stitch and mend things

harder to thread the needle
daylight helps
by the door

when we gets distracted by
trees and birds
and suchlike
natural things

i like the stitch backwards
the stretching threads

the littled dress

she is older now

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..the rain came suddenly..
sun, was done and dusted.

by the slate they talked, shining.
faces older now, friendship retained.

learned a little more on life, the small
things, wisdom rings
the generations.

i did not need all the mange tout.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.i don’t write dramatic.
may be i am soft like
gentle ways.

we went to the mountain
sat at the base chatting,
looking up.

walking the path, the sun
caught our shoulders,

at the salmon leap, we paused
at the lack of fish.

grass grew greener,
we are older now,

happy.

enough.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


SONG OF AN OLD MAN

…..I

Here I am
With a story
Without a beginning, without an end, without a story
But here I am
I came here
Proudly
With my fine circus
With my elephants, my clowns, my highwire
And my fleas
No – now my memory fails me too
I never had fleas till I came here
Proudly
With my circus in a bag on my back
In the country my circus was a rage
Everyone came
Everyone marvelled and took something home
But then I came to the city
Spying out the land
And all those people
Rushing back and forth
I don’t know
Frightened me somehow
With their beards and monocles
Their sweaters and nylon stockings
Frightened me somehow
And I clung on to my bag
To keep my circus quiet
Out of sight till the time came

…..II

Remembering
How old was I when you gave me my circus?
Pleased at first as children are
Then awed, ecstatic, angry, indignant, blind with rage and screaming as I learned
All the time learning
I remember the accidents
Fire in the stables roasting horses like chickens
Young girls missing the net to explode like wine glasses
I couldn’t close my eyes
Saw every hurt
Felt blood flow
And all the time learning my trade
Until you should make me master of the ring
Good times too
Delivering foals at 3 a.m.
Lovers holding hands a hundred feet up
The clown risking his life when the lion got loose
All the stories the artistes had to tell
All the time learning
Learning my trade
For I was to announce them and their stories
In the city
And here
Here I was
Nervous
Dumbstruck

…..III

I have been proud in my life
I have had to learn not to thank you for making me like this
Not to thank you I am not as other men
But now as a reward
Please please
Let me be like them
Please
I was too prudent
I did not book a hall
I did not light lights
Hang up posters
Parade them through the town
I kept them quiet
Out of sight till the time came
I was too prudent
It was a wet November
The streets reflected the lights
And clung to my shoes
I huddled in cafés
Slept in alleys
I bought drinks for people I thought might like circuses
Made them my friends
I told them anecdotes
I spent years at it
I learned to speak
To make people laugh by keeping a straight face
And by crying to make them cry
But many didn’t understand me

…..IV

And some – some I trusted
Thought ill of me
That my stories were lies
Were all mine
In some way “my opinion”
And cost me more years of learning
For only a fool is angry when no one listens
And no one listens to a fool
So now I am an old fool
But I heard – I saw those stories
They belong to me
To you
To the people who drank my drinks
And would not listen
I was too prudent
And too foolish
I have spent all my money
I have sold everything to buy people drinks
My elephants, my clowns, my highwire
All I have left are my fleas
I would ask you to book a hall for me
To light lights
Hang up posters
To buy back my animals and parade them through the town
But I am afraid
For you would refuse
I would ask you if my fleas are enough
But I am afraid
For you would say yes

© 2020, Ben Naga

Ben’s site is Ben Naga, Gifts from the Musey Lady and Me. “Laissez-moi vous recanter ma vraie histoire.”


Golden Wrinkles

Maturity means thanks giving to childhood
Multiplication of years hence birth and showers of unmeasurable and priceless firm brains
It is a mountain top full of greener wonders
A waterfall of blessings every little soul awaiting to grasp and feel
It is a time when the beaming and gleaming stars gather for all to gaze on
Not only to gaze on but to reap up the best of the life journey
An angelic Ark which carried us all to cross over the Jordan river
This is a sacred life never to be forsaken
A haven of heavens we all wish to step unto!

© 2020, Gorata Mighty Ntshwabi aka Poko Boswa


The season that didn’t exist

So the time
just like a river
lowers each waterside
from a higher
to a small one
or from colorful
to horizon.
Yes.
So the time.

The children,
each fall
the yellow leaves
they gather.

© 2020, Bozhidar Pangelov (aka Bogpan)


Progress?

When I was age ten,
wrinkled worms of worry
squirmed their way into the ignorant squeals
of ghost in the graveyard
as buddies’ begetters were jettisoned from their jobs
during the Reagan Recession.
When I was age twenty, about to
burst upon the pomp of
a piece of parchment
(previously promoted as
a passport to prosperity)
drawn up in uselessly pretentious Latin,
I tripped into a mosh pit of Generation X grumblers
bitching about becoming the
first generation to fare worse than
its fathers and mothers as
grunge tracks lashed clouds
of clove cigarette smoke on café sofas.
When I was age thirty, a soaring stock market
sank into post-nine-eleven oblivion in
a waxing new century of
underwhelming wilting.
When I neared age forty, along with gray
hairs rose the Great Recession, punching any
progress practically back to nil.
And now that I sneak up on the half-century signpost,
having naively considered that
I could,
at last,
coast on a comfortable career,
COVID-19 has crushed the economy
with a death blow not dealt since the Depression.
Middle age may not have lowered my libido or
dampened my desire for candy or daydreams,
but as it takes longer and longer
for me to find my birth year
on drop-down menus,
I’m nagged by a need to
cherish achievements
before the elusive illusions of stability
between the mortar board and the mortuary
melt into the sad sighing of Sisyphus.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker


I Am What I Am

I’m not what I once was
Neither am I what I will be.
I am what I am
Until death do me part.

October 2019

© 2020, Mike Stone

Seek Not beyond those Horizons

On another world, in another time,
A world and time whose horizons are close and familiar
Unknown to our enemies or their missiles
Where God rises over the hills in the morning
And sets in the sea in the evening.
He sees us with the light of his eyes,
Hears our cacophony of supplications,
Feels us with His gentle breezes,
And tastes us with His blue seas.
He protects us from evil,
Provides for our needs
Before we think to ask,
And collects us to His breast
When we are old.
We have only to seek not beyond those horizons
Or question the wisdom
Of those who came before us.

October 2019

© 2020, Mike Stone

Death’s Grace

On the other side of the world
A mother’s soul grows childlike
While her body withers and shrivels
Under the blankets and darkness
Of curtains and closed doors
Waiting for God’s grace
Or Death’s.

September 2019

© 2020, Mike Stone 

The Colossal Feats of Ramses Two

Ramses Two, Ozymandias, third king of the nineteenth dynasty,
Son of Seti One or the sun, as you would have us believe,
Conqueror of Nubia, Libya, Canaan, Syria, and the Hittites,
Enslaver of the Hebrews who carried your pyramids on their broken backs,
You built temples to forgotten gods,
Cities buried under shifting sand dunes,
And colossal statues of yourself in stone
Commemorating your colossal feats for all posterity
Striking awe and terror in your peoples’ hearts,
Intimidating those who would invade,
But all that remains are the colossal feet,
The rest resides in a British museum.
Your mummied body, five foot seven,
Hunched over ancient arthritis and abscessed teeth,
Is now in some Parisian museum viewed by
Heartless bodies with a plane to catch.
If you could see yourself as we see you now,
The submerged relics of your once and future greatness,
Would you have thought it worth your efforts
And not a waste of precious life?
Life crashes through all of us,
As through paper walls or
Trampling you and me like blades of grass
Under a careless runner’s feet
To reach some distant star.

July 2019

© 2020, Mike Stone

The Hermit and the Cabin

My poor soul, bless its,
Well, you know what I mean,
Would soar like an eagle over dappled valleys
Dragging my body along with it if it could
But it has grown accustomed to the weight
And cumbersomeness of my body
Like a hermit grows accustomed to his cabin
Of rough-hewn logs and thatched twig roof
Lost in a wilderness of loveliness and terror.
The cabin protects it in a small way
From the vicissitudes of a heart’s seasons
And the uncertainties of our knowing,
But eventually the weeds send their tendrils
Through the chinks between the logs
At first admitting welcome daylight
But then unwelcome cold and finally
Strangling the logs with their slow sure strength
Until the hermit is forced to leave the cabin
Looking for another not too overgrown or exposed.
The old cabin will miss its hermit
Until the last log falls to ground
And the roof lies unthatched among the weeds, but
What cares the hermit for the cabin
Or the soul for its earthly body?

June 2019

© 2020, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry, It contains all new poems covering the years from 2017 to 2019. The poetry in this book reflects the unique perspectives and experiences of an American in Israel. The book is a smorgasbord of descriptions, empathies, wonderings, and questionings. It is available on Kindle and if you have Kindle Unlimited you can download it as part of your membership. I did.  Recommended. / J.D


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

2 Comments

Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s