age

All posts in the age category

My Memory Is Me

Published March 24, 2020 by Nan Mykel

I’m not what you see at 83.

I’m so much more, almost

filled to the top–

with a little room to grow.

The touch of velvet is still

alive in me; the fig tree

and the good hard red clay.

Grandmother’s good soft lap and

the fragrance of the land

after the rainfall. And oh my,

the comfortable settling of

coal in the grate in the dark.

Childhood fills one big toe. Yet

as you see, I could go on and

on ’til one of us fell asleep.

 

Nan  10/19/15

(I must have said 83 to make it rhyme–5 years later I’m now 84

 

 

Anonymous Poem on Loneliness

Published February 3, 2020 by Nan Mykel

The poem below appeared in Guy’s Hospital Gazette,  the Newsletter of Greenwich District Hospital, London, on February 2, 1974. It was written by a lady in a geriatric ward and found in her locker after she died by staff who thought her incapable of writing.

POEM ON LONELINESS

What do you see, nurses, what do you see?

Are you thinking when you are looking at me–

A crabbit old woman, not very wise,

Uncertain of habit with far away eyes.

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply,

When you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try.”

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still

As I rise at your bidding , as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother

Brothers and sister who love one another;

A bride soon at twenty my heart gives a leap

Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;

At twenty-five now I have young of my own

Who need me to build a secure happy home;

At fifty once more babies play round my knee,

again we know children, my loved one and me;

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead

I look to the future I shudder with dread.

My young are all busy rearing young of their own.

And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m an old woman now and Nature is cruel

‘Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body it crumbles, grace and vigour depart.

There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcase a young girl still dwells

And now and again my battered heart swells,

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,

And I’m loving and living all over again.

And I think of the years all too few–gone too fast

And accept the stark fact that nothing will last.

So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,

Not a crabbit old woman, look closer–see me!

Philosophical Flash Fiction

Published December 30, 2019 by Nan Mykel

I think I’m one of the handful of our species who still carry a few Neanderthal genes in their DNA (another fantasy, or it could be truth?) I withdraw to my inner cave for comfort, also when frightened by the antics of my universe.

The entrance to my cave is narrow, if not hidden, and its roof everpresent, overhead and revealed by the spirits of the night. Inside I most often experience protection and shelter, but then unpredictably, for no reason, the sky is rent and the displeasure of the spirits falls through.  In 1971, without warning, joy morphed into fear as my precious wombling appeared, both mongoloid and terminal.  Fear had pelted from my sky, so long protecting.

The sins of the fathers, surely not mine?  I watched the rent in the sky, distrusting its false reassurance. .

Years passed, propitiation helping maintain the fabric of the sky, until the sky was rent again and again and the size of my haven shrank.  After years of succor by the cave spirits, fear moved in, and the floor of my cave became unstable.  Retribution was upon both me and the few family and clan mates who also had sought succor.

Expatiation for what?  As we look on, age, disease and a mysterious silence fills the cave.  A shepherd’s crook reaches down and snuffs out its own.  Finally, overhead, rocks begin to fall from the sky of my refuge and we crawl out to discover a frighteningly similar world.

The scene in this sprawling land of mountain crags of cautious and fearful humans creeping out from their places of temporary refuge feels somehow archetypal.  I look up and wonder, is this a new day or a new night?

285 words

c.nanmykel

 

 

WHO? poem

Published December 1, 2019 by Nan Mykel

Our grandparents live

only in our memories. When we go,

they go.

Why care if we’re forgot?

                                           As if we never were?

                                           I speak of myself, now:

                                             Why do I care if I am forgot?

                                            As if I never was, never

                                              strove to overcome my limitations,

                                           only partly successful, yearning yet afraid?

                                            If truth be told, my heart is rusted

                                         from underuse.

                                           My children and grandchildren

                                          know this. Perhaps

                                        being forgot is not

                                   so bad after all.

 

Nan, Common Threads, 2012

 

My Mental Mire

Published October 12, 2019 by Nan Mykel

On my fifth birthday, riding on the swinging garage doors, I wondered about life. I wondered about the essence of awareness of conscious existence. Why was there no connection between my awareness and that of others?  What did existing entail?  My first five years had only served to confuse.

I saw two sets of worlds: the world of myself as against all others, and the world of children as against adults.  I never believed I would grow up. Not really.  One thing worried me especially: would I essentially change as I grew up, or would the me of myself remain constant?

That afternoon by the garage on my fifth birthday I resolved to keep in contact with myself. From birthday to birthday. I promised myself on my fifth birthday. I promised myself to keep in touch with myself on every proceeding birthday.  More times than not, I keep the faith. I re-familiarize myself with the five year old and touch base.

Not long ago I came across a letter written five years after that fifth birthday. It was addressed to the me of the future.  It read:

Hello, How are you?  What do you think?  Have you changed? 

Of course I’ve changed, and for the worse, as do all people growing up. Childhood is the age of innocence and wonder and faith in the infallibility of adults.  Since my childhood my innocence has been tainted by knowledge,  my wonder has been dulled by complacency, and my faith in mankind has been demoralized by observation.  I can still remember the  jarring shock I received when I saw an adult act in childish temper.

I feel somehow guilty  that I have changed. It seems I should have kept the girl of five alive to a greater extent than I have.  I make compensation to some degree on my birthdays, when I remember.

 

 

OLD SOLDIER

Published July 27, 2019 by Nan Mykel

He knew he was crochety.

He’d forgotten how to love.

His cane held him upright and

allowed him to kick at stones

along the winding path home.

He wanted for nothing but

stones to kick and maybe a

bone to pick once he arrived.

Being crochety was safe.

He knew it and they knew it,

and at night after supper

he could be found down

in his old soldier’s fox hole.

Today, a Random Day in My Random Life

Published February 8, 2018 by Nan Mykel

I wonder what random means here.  I just felt like writing today , “at random”–oh, I get it.  It’s 12:51 p.m. and I’m still in my mis-matching pjs.  And I’m sneezing like you wouldn’t believe.  On Mucinex and nosespray. It’s too cold to go outside and get my mail.

I just sent an e-mail to U.F.’s Anthropology Dept to see if a notebook with “Seminole Town Compilations” is mine or UF’s, from 1962.  I also called the office of the foot doctor who trims my toenails to see if I could pay my bill over the phone via VISA.  They said I don’t owe anything. So far the day’s going well, tho I know I can’t come up with a poem for d’Verse’s Thursday night.

My computer helper is coming tonight and I’m going to ask her to help me print out “How to Use ‘Press This’ on Word Press”  from “Hugh’s News and Views.”  Since I’m without wheels she stopped at the grocers and got me chocolate milk and Vtamin B-12, which I’m out of.  We didn’t get to Hugh’s Views  due to another time-consuming job.  Maybe I can tackle it myself.  If not, you can read it there if it’s news to you, as it was to me.  11:20 p.m. I didn’t mention the television watching I did off and on.  Yay for Nancy Pelosi for talking nonstop for 8 hours!

Did You Think I Was Old? Not Me!

Published January 5, 2018 by Nan Mykel

When did an old person ever collect puppets for amusement and magic?

When did an old person get so self-absorbed playing that her son disowned her? (Hope I’m smarter than that when I get old).

When did an old person collect pieces of lightning and pretend they were dog turds? (I should hope not).

When did an old person ever sneak in the cookie jar and empty it? (Surely not!)

When did an old person pout because it was raining, and sing Rain Rain Go Away?

When did an old person ever hang up their stocking on Christmas Eve? And GET something!

When did an old person ever go chasing rainbows?

When did an old person ever prefer Raggedy Ann to Barbie?

When did an old person avoid looking in the mirror?

When did an old person who wouldn’t look in he mirror say “I’m not old?”                                               SEE?  I’m NOT!

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