Poetry – by David Whyte

David Whyte is one of my favourite poets. His insight into poetry is at the very least quite remarkable. The quote below is something I read and reread, and always seem to find something new waiting for me within it:

P O E T R Y

The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back for the poet once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid. The discipline of poetry is in overhearing yourself say difficult truths from which it is impossible to retreat. Poetry is a break for freedom. In a sense all poems are good; all poems are an emblem of courage and the attempt to say the unsayable; but only a few are able to speak to something universal yet personal and distinct at the same time; to create a door through which others can walk into what previously seemed unobtainable realms, in the passage of a few short lines.

via Poetry.

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Why does society treat old people so shabbily? / Features / Home – Morning Star

Crabbit Old Woman

Phyllis McCormack 

Date: 1960s

What do you see, nurses, what do you see? What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?

A crabby old woman, not very wise, uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply when you say in a loud voice, “I do wish you’d try!”

Who seems not to notice the things that you do, and forever is losing a stocking or shoe…

Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will. With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.

Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?

Then open your eyes, nurse… you’re looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still, as I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother. Brothers and sisters, who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet, dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.

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 guide and a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast, bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone, but my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.

At fifty once more, babies play around 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.

For my young are all rearing young of their own, and I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old woman and nature is cruel. ‘Tis 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 carcass a young girl still dwells, a now and again my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain, and I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years all too few, gone too fast, and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, nurses, open and see, not a crabby old woman… look closer… see me.

via Why does society treat old people so shabbily? / Features / Home – Morning Star.