“How old would you be if you didn’t know your age.”
A dear friend’s mother died this week. She was ninety-five. I only met her one time, but I heard she had a good long life.
She lived in the retirement home where another friend’s ninety-three-year-old mother lives. My aunt lives there too. She’s going on ninety-eight. And I still see her as the beauty she was in her thirties, forties, and fifties.
I wrote the poems for Paul Blieden’s book of photography, The Emerging Goddess. I dedicate this poem to these ladies. They are in my heart.
The crones – our mothers, grandmothers,
aunts, old friends, and teachers –
walk arm in arm in pairs
each one supporting the other
on the old cobble-stoned streets.
They are squat, stout
with veiny legs and thick ankles,
their bare feet in flat sandals
showing jagged toenails
or clothed in thick hose
and wide oxfords.
Some move slowly
barely able to walk,
clutching each other for support.
They are perfectly coifed.
Their hair short and bleached
hides their age
but not too much.
They wear suits
with skirts always below their knees.
Jeans just don’t do.
They talk as they walk
Almost in a whisper
they solve the world’s problems,
impart their age-old wisdom
or decide what they’ll cook for dinner.
They wear their age
as an example.
Softly, simply, elegantly
they are our muse.
They don’t hide
but rejoice in their age
They thrive in their togetherness.
That’s what counts.
They aren’t alone as they walk
They walk together
as we follow behind.