Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The week before turning fifty


White shreds of birch bark whisper in your ear
like prayer flags; they buzz and flitter like the wings
of the last insects of the damp and dying year.

You know this place of yours is still unmade,
and never will be finished now, or put quite straight;
you know too there will still be small, white, late
self-seeded snapdragons and orange marigolds
under the darkening hydrangea's violet shade.

And from your grave, sleep-softened face
- the lines and weight that morning brings -
you think perhaps you might even have done
some brave, as well as weak and stupid, things.

~

16 comments:

Zhoen said...

Right behind you. But my cousin who trod this ground before assures me that life begins at 50.

marja-leena said...

Lovely poem... bittersweet. And I'm ahead of you and still full of life.

herhimnbryn said...

Beautiful words.

It gets better and better. Am two years ahead of you. Trust me!

Rouchswalwe said...

I'll be there in 3-2-1, sweet Lucy. I hope that I wake that morning with poetic thoughts such as yours! The alternating rhyme is lovely. Sweeps me along.

Wish I could brew some birthday ale for you!

earlybird said...

Lovely. Reflective. I particularly like the first stanza. Beautiful image - and it sounds good too.

Nice up-beat end. (If a bit tentative!)

May your path be strewn with 'self-seeded snapdragons and orange marigolds'

(Only 50? Quelle chance!)

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Turning fifty's just out of the womb.
Just try and imagine the gloom,
When checking the date
And seeing an eight
Carved speculatively into a tomb.

Jean said...

This is so beautiful and real. Lovely. 50 is not a big deal, truly. At 57, I have many problems but my age is really not one of them. Aging happens at random moments, I find, not coinciding with any fixed landmark. An excuse for extra heartfelt self-celebration on your birthday is always good,though.

Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

50 is a perfect age. Old enough to understand the mistakes you may have made, young enough to make some foolish ones still.

Gad, Lucy, I'm nearly 22 years older than you. You could be my daughter!!!

Rosie said...

I am still waiting to grow up at 57...or am I 58? I can never remember. Just keep having fun and find interests to fascinate you

Fire Bird said...

I like the second stanza - the resonances of 'this place of yours'

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

I know 50 - or any other number - is neither here nor there, and that there's nothing more exasperating than hearing those younger than oneself bemoaning their age. I remember an older student of mine, when we were practising the conditional construction 'I wish I had [done]' saying 'I wish I had always known how young I was'. Likely LdP at 90 you will be ruing getting morbid about being 80!

But irrelevant as the milestone years are, one cannot help taking stock. The sense of 'might have done' though, is as much about other lives not lived, in different times and places, with greater demands placed, as about the actual past. I often think I am not made of such stern stuff as my, our, forbears, but momentarily it comes to me that perhaps that's just about the time and the place...

Anne said...

A lovely poem. Beyond that, all I can say is that all of my children but one are over 50.

the polish chick said...

a beautiful poem, incredibly visual. i'm crawling up to 40 and am filled with pangs of knowing that i now am what i will be, a feeling the middle stanza captures perfectly.

while milestones are irrelevant, we are creatures who value having them. after all, they are markers on a journey and it's nice to know how far one's come (or not so nice, if one feels a lack of accomplishment).

i know i am neither old nor wise, but i have always thought you are the age you are and bemoaning it is silly and counterproductive. i've found it offensive when people older than i found out my age and said with scorn, you're just a baby! i am what i am, and i will get older and (hopefully) smarter, but we're all moving in the same direction, aren't we.

my, i can blather on. i should start a blog... oh. wait. then perhaps i ought to write in it on occasion.

Dick said...

So well expressed, Lucy. I love the chime of 'there will still be small, white, late / self-seeded snapdragons and orange marigolds / under the darkening hydrangea's violet shade'.

I've posted similarly today. Another birthday very close for me, although somewhat further round the corner from you!

The Crow said...

Happy birthday tomorrow, dear Lucy!

HKatz said...

You know this place of yours is still unmade,
and never will be finished now, or put quite straight


A beautiful poem, with these lines in particular jumping out at me as being sharp and poignant.

Happy Birthday to you.