"Are we the generation that will redefine aging?

Can aging be not just growing older but growing wiser?

Isn't there a little Zen in all of us?

Although 'growing old is not for sissies' this writer hopes that aging well is a real option."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Sweater

 
                                                  This is a poem that was inspired by this old sweater which Harry gave to me 35 years ago on a vacation on Martha's Vineyard. I tend to keep things I love, and yesterday I gave it to my daughter and snapped this picture.

                                                   Early today, over coffee,

                                                  I told her I was going home

To clean closets and write a poem—

Such ambition and pride!

As if I could summon the Muse at will…

 

Smiling now

As I stand over the sink eating my

Sardines and onions

Dripping oil,

Marveling at my delicious weakness

For these easy fish—

I wonder if I will rise to the occasion

Of such poetic ambition or collapse beneath the weight of words

And closets that remain undone?

 

What is a poem anyway?

A thoughtful madness or a soulful necessity?

The heart spilling over on itself

Searching for words

Can be harder to face

Than the cave of the closet

But sometimes.

I call it delicious.

 

The closet calls to be cleaned.

The under-seams of my broken life

Pile up like soiled clothes; lost loves, lost shoes…

The wrinkles in my face, my dress—

They startle me, demand words, demand attention.

 

Existential questions rise before the pile of clothes

As well as the empty page.

Who am I becoming? Who will I be today?

What will I wear?

 

This chance mood tonight; this reprieve

Demands a singular courage.

It calls me to order—

Entices me to make an effort.

I listen well, re-defining the fabric of my life—

By swift decisions, I declare:

I’m not tailored, stark or sleek.

 

Ruthlessly discarding outgrown clothes

I allow space for the new—

And caress the memory of the old.

Smelling the wooliness

Of the old red-ribboned sweater

I remember the trip to the islands,

And how we loved then.

Squeezing the torn yarns between my fingers

I hold the memory of that day

Till my heart relaxes--

Then fold it tenderly

And tuck it back in the drawer.

 

The torn sweater must be sown together, healed.

A poem will help…

Sorting and savoring what is good

I let the rest go—

Remembering and releasing…

The effort will be worth it—

So this is my pleasure tonight!

And sometimes I call it delicious.

Elizabeth Spring