Aging — At The Pond’s Edge   Leave a comment

Rose Lake August 2012At the Pond’s Edge — Photo-Artistry by kenne

The current issue of The New Yorker has an article on aging that begins:
“Aging, like bankruptcy in Hemingway’s description, happens two ways,
slowly and then all at once.” This quote in the article brought to mind the poem,
“Affirmation” by Donald Hall who passed away last year at 89.

To grow old is to lose everything. 
Aging, everybody knows it. 
Even when we are young, 
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads 
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer 
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters 
into debris on the shore, 
and a friend from school drops 
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us 
past middle age, our wife will die 
at her strongest and most beautiful. 
New women come and go. All go. 
The pretty lover who announces 
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand. 
Another friend of decades estranges himself 
in words that pollute thirty years. 
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge 
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything. 

— Donald Hall

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