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Poems about Old Women

We have a Wellesley Class of '58 "Sister List," and we send email about passing events, getting old, advice about topical pain meds, when to move into senior living etc etc. We've gotten older and older since it started some twenty or so years ago and now at 85, we are certifiably "old," We can, therefore, instead of writing about how we would imagine being old as do many poets, we can write about the actuality! Mel, herself a published writer, sent out this poem this morning--written by Kate Barnes (poet laureate of Maine) when she was a mere 60 something.

Future Plans


When I am an old, old woman I may very well be living all alone like many another before me and I rather look forward to the day when I shall have a tumbledown house on a hill top and behave just as I wish to. No more need to be proud— at the tag end of life one is at last allowed to be answerable to no one. Then I shall wear a shapeless felt hat clapped on over my white hair, sneakers with holes for the toes, and a ragged dress. My house shall be always in a deep-drifted mess, my overgrown garden a jungle. I shall keep a crew of cats and dogs, with perhaps a goat or two for my agate-eyed familiars. And what delight I shall take in the vagaries of day and night, in the wind in the branches, in the rain on the roof! I shall toss like an old leaf, weather-mad, without reproof. I’ll wake when I please, and when I please I shall doze; whatever I think, I shall say; and I suppose that with such a habit of speech I’ll be let well alone to mumble plain truth like an old dog with a bare bone.


I really liked the poem, but didn't go beyond admiring "I shall toss like an old leaf, weather-mad, without reproof" until Mel sent out a second challenge. Why doesn't someone really old like us write a poem. Within 5 minutes, this was mine:


All I Want To Do

All I want to do

Is get out onto the creek

And find me an otter or three

A Wood Duck and a Mink

An Osprey with a giant fish

An Eagle trying to grab it

All I want to do

Is get out onto the bay

And watch the Grebes dance

A Least Bittern balancing on a reed

A Stealthy Muskrat returning to his den

A Beaver, a fluttering Kite

All I want to do

Is get out to the ocean

And watch the Whimbrels dig for tiny crabs

And hear the Oystercatchers’ raucous notes

And nod to the passing Loon

The Harbor Seal heading for an important date

All I want to do

Is bear witness to this wild show

That plays upon a nearby stage

All green and blue, all sun and fog

And know that it will sure reprise

After we say good night



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