by Ann Cooper
They say old age is not for sissies,
and they’re right.
Does every pain forecast debility,
each illness serve as prelude to the end?
And yet one carries on.
I have so far escaped disease and pain,
am lucky that it’s mostly slowing down
that bothers me,
that and the now-familiar,
“honey,” “dear,” “young lady”
that would rob me of both
consequence and dignity
if I allowed.
But for me the blessings of long life,
besides the privilege of living still,
are the ability to accept,
almost ego-less, in peace,
my accomplishments and worth,
too easily dismissed before
by those who claimed to love me, and myself,
and the knowledge that the children whom I raised
are raising more as wonderful as themselves,
who embrace life, the world, each other eagerly,
and fleetingly, on occasion,
look like me.
* * * * *
Ann Cooper has been writing poems on and off for more than thirty years. She discovered he woman's voice very early, as a little girl, as she observed the many ways that women were treated differently from men—by both women and men: lowered expectations and narrowed horizons, for example, along with all the rest.