Monday, July 31, 2017

Monday's Poetry: "On Aging"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

This has been a birthday week for some of my "oldest" and dearest friends.  I mentioned in yesterday's post that Aunt Mary turned ninety-two last week.  Aunt Mary is an artist and former model who has been an active presence in the San Diego area since the early days of World War II when camouflage netting was strung above much of the city to keep it hidden from Japanese bombers.  She still drives - and goes where she wants when she wants!

My other good friend, Mertie H., turns ninety today.  Mert is the mother of one of my friends from elementary and high school, a woman I have known and appreciated for nearly sixty of her ninety years - and a very, very good friend.  She suffered a serious stroke a couple of weeks ago and is now undergoing intensive rehab in a residential setting.  The good news is that she appears to be making tremendous strides in her recovery and will hopefully soon be back home taking care of her cats and her older sister, Ruthie.

To acknowledge the endurance and lives of these two strong women, I have chosen a poem by another forceful female, the late Maya Angelou, entitled simply "On Aging."  I particularly like the final four lines.

Happy birthday Aunt Mary and Mertie.  Be well and stay well.  You both are inspirations to us all!

On Aging
by Maya Angelou

When you see me sitting quietly,
Like a sack left on the shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering.
I’m listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me!
Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it,
Otherwise I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching,
And my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor:
Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
When you see me walking, stumbling,
Don’t study and get it wrong.
‘Cause tired don’t mean lazy
And every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then,
A little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.
But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in.

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