Here are a few poems written by CAN-NM members.
The Body Saying goodbye to itself…
By Patricia Flasch
The time is coming
just around the bend
when my body will say goodbye to itself…
As the awareness of my own mortality deepens
and courses through me
A new possibility opens
Then maybe these wrinkled eyes
spider webbed arms
and flat feet
don’t matter so much anymore.
Maybe they don’t matter at all…
What if I were to bless them.
stroke the flat feet and the fat knees
gently hold the bulge and the arms and the breasts
and these eyes became so very beautiful to me?
So what if I have more wrinkles
and gravity is taking over
What if I can’t remember your name
or what I had for dinner
or what day it is?
what if I completed my life’s work
and really can’t keep the garden up anymore?
What if all my spiritual and emotional intelligence
And, I can’t walk or eat or pee on my own anymore?
Then, my sweet heart
Would you still stroke my face tenderly?
And, could you put a damp cloth on my parched lips?
And, would you read to me so that I can fall asleep tonight
And, would you sing to me as I awaken in the morning?
Better to start saying goodbye to my body now
The memory of dying is good medicine for me…
Poems by Mary Fogarty
—To Sage-ing Elders—
those alert, witty, compassionate mavericks,
cultural visionaries and daydreamers
who listen, accept, influence, spur and inspire.
With courage and relentless determination,
you rise above social stereotypes to encompass
the worldly-wit, beauty and wisdom
of humanity in its entirety.
Giving reverence to the past upon which futures are built,
you live life deliberately
to become a light force for walking each other home
Marmalade and Ginger Tea
I remember Grandpa turned away a lot.
His bald spot reflected the New Year’s
garden plot and stacks of saffron hay,
Grandmother with her greenhouse
hose held a pose that scolded,
“get your fricken act back here,
The simple deeds of grandparents
didn’t mean much to me—
their history blocked—until a voice
from their past willed a twist of tongue.
Enriched by Grandma’s pioneer spirit,
I began to model and shape a yesteryear
that resurrected them in poetry
and prose—written in bold letters.
A heavy winter’s rain wilted the fields
of corn stalks and fallen grain into a heaped decay,
Grandpa mowed and mulched the fodder
to nurture seeds for another day.
It all came back like a crystal-mirror.
Grandpa’s head shone the ivory frost
of a Spring land seer as he plowed
and planted wheat and corn
for the coming year.
Cares behind, heart ahead—sunshine spread.
Jam and marmalade on toasted bread served
well with spicy ginger tea to dissipate
clumps of peach from Grandma’s cannery.
I, held on her battered knee, tucked under
quilted patterns of Douglas Fir forestry,
listened as Grandma rocked me into
a Polish parody filled with eerie castles
and the boogey-man’s lunacy.
The coo-coo-clock struck noon
as Grandma sipped off her spoon—
a hummer’s humping ecstasy
beaked in waters of clover leaf tea
and honey fermented in brownstone stills.
With sunken, rheumy eyes
and lurid tongue memories
I hear her wise story bits flow
through pink grapefruit lips.
Plump jowls jiggle as Grandma
spoke of Wisconsin farms fowl.
“Know your garden and
how roots grow down to firmly fix
in fertile ground. And how plants
push up to surround a sturdy bush or tree
laden with ruby-red fruit to feed the family.”
As history’s seepages dance by,
dry crinkled leaves bobbed and dipped
against an amber sky—
Simple deeds now won, my sweet tongue
becomes witness to a winter cellar
of green marmalade and ginger tea.
Vintage Woman: A Memoir is one woman’s odyssey into Elderhood not as the Third and Final Act, but as the most intuitive, aware, insightful, enlightened, well-informed stage of her experience. Through prose and poetry Mary Fogarty taps into the multi-dimensional aspects of the human spirit and into the heart of Elders. She appeals to all Elders to live beyond self-interest and self-preservation. Consciously shifting from adulthood to elderhood, Vintage Woman invites Pro-agers to treasure their inner beauty and divinity and to harvest past experiences for their futures. As an increasingly large population of Pro-agers, healthier, better educated, economically secure and psychologically more sophisticated, discover individual rights and freedoms beyond personal tragedies, Vintage Woman invites Elders to serve the larger community with their “collective wisdom.”