When I Am An Old Woman

How did I get so old? Not as old as my 94 year old aunt, last (half) sister of my late mother. At 78, I hope I have a few healthy decades left to take care of my disabled daughter. But more and more I think about all the departed parents, friends, and siblings. I feel old, yet sometimes not so old.

Like today as I’m thinking about poetry, triggered by the memory of a poem I discovered over a decade ago. When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple by Jenny Joseph, a poem I happily discovered, among the many, many links, on the fantastic Late Bloomer website of Debra Eve. She writes that Jenny Joseph’s poem is second only among poetry lovers to Dylan Thomas’s Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (he’s at the top of my list).

You can read Jenny’s Old Woman poem on Debra’s site, where Jenny’s publisher gives Debra permission to post it. A poem that triggered memories of her mother.

A memory of my own mother once triggered this poem that won third place, long ago, in a Virginia state poetry contest. A friend said it made her shiver.

Near the Source (c) Ann Carbine Best

At ninety-seven my mother died.
Near the end she was clumsy
tapping a white-tipped cane,
touching and touching, her hands
as fragile as the baby sparrows
she fed that long winter. Why,
I wondered, did she bother? The cat
would snap their delicate bones.

Yet what remains is more than flesh
and bone. She told me how the x-rays
shot out light whiter, more brilliant
near the uterus. I feel it burning
the farther I walk, my hands
touching hers, restored to flight.

2 thoughts on “When I Am An Old Woman

  1. Hi Ann – well I got here … sorry having returned to England and I’m still settling in … so somewhat ‘distracted’ … just hope the two of you are managing and will get through this winter blast that’s descending on the States. All the best to you and Jen – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is SO good to see you here, Hilary. And glad you did get here. So you’re back in England. I will be getting back to interacting with some bloggers because I need to stay in touch with some select few, such as you, just as I need to keep writing, as I’ve discovered these past 8 months. I’m finally completing a second memoir, two-thirds shorter than the first one. It’s my spiritual journey with Jen which will have a lot of “Mormonisms” in it. The In The Mirror memoir had some of this, but coming to Christ is the theme that runs through this one: title: When Jen Came Back, alluding to as the reader will learn, an out of body experience when she was in her coma. I think most readers of any religious persuasion could like the stories.

    Yes, we are indeed in a miserable arctic zone here. Just finished talking to my 94 year old aunt in very warm Phoenix, Arizona in southwest USA where it’s about 70 degrees today. It is REALLY cold here on the east coast. Going to be 1 degree tonight. Right now it’s 27, and windy.

    Jen and I are managing, thank you, and hope you are too. I’ll see you soon on your blog, and will begin putting up some more posts here 🙂 Jen is waving HI.


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