There is something about a poem that reaches into your soul and grabs you there. A poem can speak loudly in so few words causing you to pause for a moment to say the words over in a hope that they might land in your memory for you to retrieve at a later time.
Maybe that’s why I love them so much.
When life moves into auto pilot, I neglect poetry. But, somehow, it always seems to find it’s way back to me. We are like old friends – so grateful to have crossed paths again and we reminisce for a spell.
September is my birthday month. I enjoy giving myself small birthday gifts during the entire month of September. These gifts do not usually cost anything; a walk along the river, a drive to the library or finding a small space amongst the trees in my backyard to write. The best gifts are free.
This month, I’m giving myself the gift of poems. A poem a day.
Some poems are from my poetry books, some I write.
Today’s poem found me.
Garrison Keillor, at his website, The Writer’s Almanac, posts a poem a day, along with other literary and historical notes about the current day in history. It’s a lovely site.
Today’s featured poem was written by Kate Barnes. Kate’s words could be my own words as I reflect on my birthday, time and getting older. I’m only 51 years old, but I appreciate poetry that celebrates getting older. We need to look forward to what many are not able to.
Here is her poem.
And my gift to myself today.
by Kate Barnes
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.
“Future Plans” by Kate Barnes from Where the Deer Were. © David R. Godine, 1994. Reprinted with permission.
3 thoughts on “A Poem A Day: Birthday Gifts To Me”
Love today’s gift! So many lines to love, but especially this one – “And what delight
I shall take in the vagaries of day and night.” Thanks for sharing today’s gift with us.
This is my birthday month, too. I love poetry, always have.
I hope your birthday presents to yourself will be delightful.
Love your idea of a poem a day for your birthday. I too love poetry and sharing it with my students, family, and friends. I love today’s poem. I love that as we age, we worry less about appearances and treasure who we have become. I turned 60 in January of this year and although not old by today’s standards, I find I’m feeling more comfortable with me. Happy September birthday!