Getting Older

Forest Life

In my sturdy forest
trees are toppling.

Some known to be weakened,
elderly mother, husband with cancer.
But now, too, glorious specimens
I never knew were diseased,
a fond ex-partner, a dear friend’s husband.

Each almighty crash shakes the ground for us all.

Before, there was a parallel simplicity,
upward reaching trunks,
solid, straight,
standing companionably spaced.

Now there begin to be diagonals, horizontals even,
broken branches hanging.
Deadness among the living,
dead supported by the living,
the living leaning on the dead.
Complex patterns,
dense with memory.

The new gaps in the green canopy above
send light pouring into unfamiliar places,
revealing new truths.

Giving younger, smaller trees
the kick-start to develop and grow,
push up past us.

This forest life is inevitable.

How long will I stand tall?


Hullo Tomatoes

Daughters left home,
career over,
husband dead.

Others have dogs,
or much loved cats.
I have plants,
as my mother did.

Beauty, colour, food, life.

Constant nurturing,
structure to every empty day,
their needs to be fulfilled,
rhythm, companionship.

Sense of achievement,
seeing them thrive,
delight in being alive.

Annual cycles
shaping my year.

Away on holiday,
I enjoy the rest,
but look forward to the reunion.

“Hullo tomatoes!”



I have reached the age of layerings.
Something similar has happened before.
Memories slide out to sit under the now.

One way journeys.
Now – my cat to the vet.
Then – my husband to the hospital,
my mother to the home.
Each time a house bereft.

Joyful family news down the phone.
Now – my daughter engaged.
Then – my first grandchild,
telling my mother of my baby,
about meeting the man for me.
The family cycling forward.

Heavy work, carrying the layers.
Sometimes I long to dance in the now,
deny my elderhood.

But repeating patterns must be noted.


Terrible Gaps

The older I get,
the more I realise
how little I know.

“You have terrible gaps”,
my mother used to say.

I feel like a colander.

As I age,
I expect
I’ll turn into a sieve.