swaggering in the statement,
my meaning changing with each encounter
not by me, but you who stand in your own
notions and assumptions circling age
like dark clouds surrounding sunshine.
We are old
we who have grey, white, and purple hair,
who stoop or hold our bodies in rigid postures
moving along sidewalks and through doorways,
independent, weak, strong, formed, still
birthing new selves, opinionated, open
minded, educated, sheltered, ignorant and hip.
We are old, I tell you
you can never know the meaning years have down
in gut and memory banks, how pain becomes your familiar
because it’s there and tells you so still are you.
Magic of age is camouflaged by skin and bone
by reflex, speech and texture, the internal richness
unavailable to your sight.
I am old
it is easy to see me as a spunky exception
but I am still part of that decaying of age
and visage that fools you into your sense of what
it means to be limited by our body’s diminishment,
to need your help and patience, once given
still cannot hide the challenge we cause your pace
and movement through your life. We know this
in spite of how you turn back to us, kind or harsh.
We are old
some really sick or not able, some still running
races at 103 – she’s not really running, it is whispered.
A few need help and others refuse, we resist ripping
up our driver’s license, fight to stay in our nests against
the pull of emergencies and staying engaged. You can
never know the ravishment of losses like those, you
must get here yourself, my friend, and let go into being old.
Sharon Lopez Mooney has written all her adult life. She was human communication specialist in her earlier career, and an Interfaith Minister in the death and dying field for the latter; now retired, she lives in Mexico and spends holidays with family in California.
Mooney is an old crone, writing poetry because words are where she comes from; telling stories, talking about death and aging, witnessing our misguided culture, sharing her gained wisdom and putting her shoulder to the wheel of change and hope with everything she writes.
She has received a California Arts Council Grant to establish a rural poetry series; co-published a small regional arts journal; was an owner of Straight Talk Distributing, an alternative literature service; produced poetry readings and performances. Her poems have been included in the journals: The MacGuffin, Fallow Deer, Medical Self Care, and the anthologies: Calyx: Women and Aging, an anthology by women; Songs to the Sun, a poetry anthology; Poetry is a Mountain, An Anthology; The Wide Open Sky, anthology; Smoke & Myrrors, poetry anthology (UK).