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.
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.