Thursday, December 01, 2005

Four Score

My skin is softer
than I ever dreamed,
like the gauzy, crepey tulle
that floated over the party dresses
of the girls in my youth.
Life's tanning
has somehow dissolved
leaving me fresh and tender,
awestruck as a baby
new to the world.
I did not anticipate this.
Old bones were supposed to stiffen.
The dye of old habits
was to deepen in its surety,
confirming a life well lived.
The patterns seem to remain.
My coffee and eggs still come
at the same hour when
children pose and laugh
at the bus stop outside my door.
I never really saw them before,
and I remember the mule
who carried me down the path
to the school built by the neighbors
who shared our hill.
My whole life is lived at once now,
boy gorging on strawberries with my brother,
dapper young man with a beautiful bride,
worried father alone late at night,
and now,
the cane which carries me to the chair
where I must rest.
I am tired.
It is too much to live
all of your days in one,
lost in the wonder
of all I ever knew.

The topic of eighty years old was suggested by Celeste, and the inspiration was drawn from my father. When he was living in the decline of senile dementia, to understand him, I had to drop all my perceptions of the world. He would float in time as if his memories were the current reality, and then suddenly from out of nowhere would come this brilliantly astute observation about some detail of the "real" world around us. Trying to understand him, to fix where in his life his mind had placed him often tired me out, and I imagine it did him as well. Despite the difficulties of our last years together, that time was a gift for the memories he shared and getting to see the little details in a very familiar world that for him had become new, unexplored territory.


Blogger Laurie said...

What a fabulous tribute to your dad.

December 01, 2005 11:03 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Another beautiful poem, Cynthia. Our writing is most vibrant when it attempts to describe some real moment in our lives. It's amazing how observant we are, we writers who appear to be living most of our lives inside our own heads... Lisa :-]

December 01, 2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger Judith HeartSong said...

this is just so incredibly beautiful. judi

December 01, 2005 1:14 PM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

Cynthia this is SO wonderful.

December 01, 2005 1:16 PM  
Blogger kas said...

I really love this...

December 02, 2005 3:23 PM  

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