Tag Archives: poetry on aging

The Shrinking Woman

“The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance. “

David Whyte

from Mindfulbalance.org


For some reason I am bombarded with thoughts and articles of women growing old recently. It has been annoying. The quote above is seriously annoying.

My oldest sister called this week. she has just returned from a month in Mexico. No big deal really, she is only almost 82. What the heck it was only a couple of years ago that she was in the Baja, sleeping in a yurt on the beach. But, hey that’s my sister. That is the sort of stock I am from. Strong, resilient women. Now keep in mind I am nowhere near 82. My sister could be my mother. I often think of her that way as our mom has been dead over 10 years and she was 95 when she died, in her sleep. I was born between my sisters first child and my mom’s last. I grew up as a grandchild, sort of. But back to being old. I could aspire to be like my sister!

The movie 45 Years played at our spring film festival. My Tom Courtenay, Strelnikov from Dr. Zhivago, OMG with a very capital O, my heart-throb. I dated a man who looked just like him in 1970, I was so in love and it was so verboten. He was an American and 5 years my senior. I was only 16 going on 17,  yikes. He was the first person that told me the universe had a conscious, I was mesmerized! And Charlotte Rampling as well. I aspired to be her. Beautiful, talented and skinny. I am so excited. The movie was sad and god they were old. Sad, sad, my life seemed parallel. Look at them!

45 years

Again, today  from a blog I read, BrainPickings

Weathering, yes well I am weathered.


“My face catches the wind
from the snow line
and flushes with a flush
that will never wholly settle.
Well, that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young forever, to pass.
I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
and only pretty enough to be seen
with a man who wanted to be seen
with a passable woman.
But now that I am in love
with a place that doesn’t care
how I look and if I am happy,
happy is how I look and that’s all.
My hair will grow grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake,
my waist thicken, and the years
work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather beaten as well,
it’s little enough lost
for a year among the lakes and vales
where simply to look out my window
at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors
and to what my soul may wear
over its new complexion.”

…..Fleur Adcock

And again from David Whyte

and this one is best…

“Mid life woman
you are not
invisible to me.
I seem to see
beneath your face
all the women
you have ever been.
Midlife woman
I have grown with you
in another parallel,
breathing with you
as you breathed,
seeing with you
as you see,
lining my face
with an earned care
as you lined yours,
waiting for you,
as it seems
you waited for me.
I see your
inner complexion
breathing beneath
your outward gaze,
I see all your lives
and all your loves,
it must be for you
that I wanted to become
more generous,
a better man
than ever I could be
when young,
let me join all your
present giving
and all your receiving,
through you I learn
the full imagination
of every previous affection.
Mid life woman
you are not
invisible to me,
in you
I see a young girl,
lifting her face to the sky,
I see the young woman
in haloed light,
full and strong,
standing before
the altar of time,
waiting for her chosen.
I see the mother in you,
in your past
or in some yet
to be understood
I see you
adoring and
I see you adored,
and now,
when I call your name
I want to see
day by day,
the woman
you will become
with me.
Mid-life woman
come to me now,
I see you more clearly
than all
the airbrushed
girls of the world.
I became a warrior
only to earn
your present
mature affection,
I bear my scars to you,
my eyes are lined
to smile with you
and I come to you
and unshaven
walking rough
and wild through rain
and wind and I pace
the mountain
all night
in my happy,
at finding you.
Mid life woman,
In the dark of the night
I take you in my arms
and in that embracing
invisibility feel all of your
inner lives made touchable
and visible again.
Mid-life woman
I have earned
my ability to adore you.
Mid life woman
you are not invisible to me.
Come to me now
and let me kiss passionately
all the beautiful women
who have
ever lived in you.
My promise
is to you now
and all their future lives.”

— Mid Life Woman, from The Sea In You

David Whyte

old-2I am okay with mid-life woman. I can tell you I am not going to wake up and be unhappy with my life. Hell I just bought a horse that barrel races. Yahoo!!