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A Poem

March 4, 2009
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Occasionally I write a poem I’m proud of – here’s an old one:

Approaching Sixty, I See That…

Courage at eighty is different from at twenty
But both ages carry their future constantly –
A fearsome thrust into an unmapped wilderness.

A fearsome thrust carrying life forward blindly
At eighty requires enough love to endure
Despite loss, and endure because of loss to come,
And endure because of the sweetness still here, if
Courage persists. And, despite (because?) the compass pointing
Through the wilderness to the edge of the map,
Tells a tale seen over and over about endings, despite this,
To work through today knowing
too much, and not enough, about tomorrow.

To carry your future at twenty is to seek
The wilderness because it must be mapped
And shaped. There are roads to clear and homes
To build, and no one has given you a plan
For your wilderness, (just the one they didn’t use in theirs).
So you thrust forward, knowing too little and enough,
Building blindly wherever you find a clearing, lifting
The log of your childhood so it bridges your fears,
Confident that it might not collapse on you.

Courage at eighty is different from at twenty
But both ages carry their future constantly –
A fearsome thrust into an unmapped wilderness.

Joan Vinall-Cox, October 25, 2002

One Comment leave one →
  1. Brenda Sherry permalink
    March 4, 2009 5:20 pm

    Joan…what a beautiful poem! At 45, about the middle between 20 and 80, I’m touched by your words as I seem to always be remapping. And I suppose that’s a good thing, as I don’t really want to know where the edge of the map is, do I?
    Just that I can cover lots of ground, or not….being happy with those choices that got me where I am.

    If I knew then, what I know now!

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